(NEW YORK) — Stacy London made her career out of telling people what not to wear.
Now the star of TLC’s What Not to Wear has a warning for fans about what not to do with their money.
In a recent essay for Refinery29, London opened up about her turbulent year after back surgery.
“I wasn’t just almost broke, I was broken,” she said.
After her most recent show, Love, Lust or Run, ended, London took a year off from work with enough money set aside for “a kind of sabbatical.” But at the end of the year, she wrote, it became clear that after four years of chronic pain she would need to get spinal surgery to fuse several loose vertebrae.
London said she was told the recovery time would be six weeks. Instead, it turned out to be six months, during which London said she battled clinical depression.
“The truth is, I didn’t understand the extent to which back surgery would cripple me — emotionally and physically,” she wrote.
“I didn’t want to go outside because my anxiety of slipping or someone bumping into me was too much to bear. I was so anxious it was impossible to sleep; I’d have uncontrollable fits of crying. I didn’t feel sad exactly, I just felt sick,” London said, describing her symptoms. “Like something was eating me alive. As it turns out, what I had been feeling was clinical depression (who knew?), which I later discovered is quite common with surgeries involving the spine, brain, and heart.”
To cope, London began spending wildly — on expensive clothes, food delivery, pet toys and more.
“I’m a grown-up, but surgery, sadness, and immobility had me acting like a child: stomping my feet like Veruca Salt. I want what I want when I want it, dammit!” she said.
A breakup with her boyfriend, the sudden death of a friend and a major flood in her home made the overspending worse.
“I was determined to have a life that made me happy. Why I thought material items had that much to do with it, I can only attribute to wanting things that stay,” London explained. “Because heartbreakingly, people can’t always do that.”
London got a major reality check in December, a year after the surgery, when her accountant informed her: “I am not, in any way, as solvent as I thought I was,” she said.
After purging her house of all the excesses of the last year, London said she’s ready to pick up the pieces and move forward.
“I don’t know if this new year will be better than the last one. Everyone keeps telling me not to worry. How could things get worse?” she said. “I honestly don’t want to know the answer to that. What I want now is some glue. And hope is very sticky, indeed.”
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