Stacey Robbins, Thyroid Thrivers
45 years of age
Diagnosed in 1997
A REAL DEAL, true-to-life, crazy, Hashimoto’s story of hope, inspiration and survival.
So, Danna kept sending me e-mails in anticipation of me sharing my Thrivers Story saying, “I want the ‘REAL DEAL’, Stacey.”
She read my book and I think she means she wants me to talk about the joys of Hashimoto’s – you know how our hair falls out of our heads and ends up growing on our nipples – how we’re too tired to live life during the day and too awake to go to sleep at night and how, occasionally, and ever so slightly, in my times of complete frustration, I drop the f-bomb.
I’m honestly not sure what’s going to come out of these fingertips tonight, but just know that it was written fresh for you.
Here’s a little history about me so that I’m not a complete stranger to you:
I was born to a crazy Italian family on the East Coast. New Jersey to be exact. And no, we don’t have an accent – you do.
In our home, you ate Italian pastries, bread, pasta, and even bread with your pasta (you need something to sop up the ‘gravy’ at the end of a bowl of spaghetts.)
I remember being tired. Getting migraines from the time I was five. I’m not sure if it was the stress of our household or if was the food – or the combination of both. All I know is that I spent a lot of time not feeling well – and a lot of time feeling stressed.
It’s because stressful things were happening in our home where emotions ran hot and situations were tense and volumes ran high. It wasn’t hard all the time. Just enough to make you feel really insecure and unsafe. Which kind of feels like it’s all the time when you never know exactly when the bad stuff is going to happen. And, what made it more confusing is that everything looked good to the outside world. We dressed up. We were beautiful. And talented. And smart.
Nobody knew our secret.
You’ve got one parent being a stick of dynamite and the other one trying to contain the explosions.
I tried to be the good girl – and I really was. In so many ways. I was a good student, good athlete, a good musician… I was protective of my sisters and respectful of my teachers.
But, I learned that being a good girl doesn’t make life good.
The instability in me that came from my home was only compounded when the local drug dealer climbed in my room on Halloween night and raped me with my parents in the next room.
I didn’t do drugs and apparently he took that as a challenge to dominate me in another way. He followed me around town for months afterward doing the same thing – behind my school, businesses and our Catholic church – while he was telling everyone I was a whore and telling me that he’d hurt my younger sisters if I said anything.
I was 12.
The stress of hiding the secrets of my home life and the secrets of the abuse outside of my home created this catch in my throat.
I couldn’t say anything, or someone else would get hurt. I learned that silence protects everyone but you.
So, I swallowed the secrets and the lies. And I started coming to conclusions about who I was, based on the bad things happening to me.
I believed I was doomed.
That I was the sacrificial lamb. The martyr. The victim.
And that the other shoe was always going to drop…
Eventually, I found a religion that was coming through town with its own tent and spiritual circus and I joined it. I joined a religious circus.
I was ‘saved’ and found community of other misfits and odd-ducks of emotionally bearded ladies and internally tilted stilt-walkers. People who needed healing and relief. People who had learned they were good at performing in a way that almost made them fit into society but never truly did. It was a perfect place for people who had been abused by people who were calling it ‘love.’ We found community in each other. I found community in God.
I was left with a lot of rules in that religion. It wasn’t balanced and it was destructive in its worst place, but at its best, it saved me. Because I needed something that I could run to and perform for where there was at least something positive: a religion where heaven was promised to me, since this earth felt like hell.
There was good in it, too. Just like in my family.
But there was a lot of fear.
And like I said, when fear goes unchecked….
If it sounds dark, it’s only because it was.
But see, there was something in me that was deeper than the pain. There was this spark of knowing who I was and eventually someone in life taught me that there was a difference between who I was and what happened to me.
I wasn’t my past.
I wasn’t the craziness.
I wasn’t the abuse.
Life brought me great teachers in many forms. I prayed for Wisdom and found out that it lives within me. And it echoes inside when someone else speaks it.
And on one of my journeys, I heard Words with No Voice say, “You are love.”
Not “You are loved” if you keep a secret, if you pray a prayer, if you tow the line…
That’s a role. Where conditional love is promised but it’s not even really love to begin with.
I’m talking about hearing my identity: “You are love.”
And it resounded in me.
If I was love that meant:
I wasn’t a victim.
And I wasn’t even a victor.
Because being a victor, is still a relationship with being a victim – and I wasn’t related to that anymore.
I was love.
When you know who you are everything changes.
You don’t look at what’s happening to you in the same way.
What does this have to do with Hashimoto’s?
Well, kind of everything.
Because when I was diagnosed almost 20 years ago with it – a dis-ease where your body attacks itself, I realized I had been doing that my whole life. I had been trying to perform for a crazy family, keep secrets for an abuser, and perform for a god who was impossible to please.
I realized that not following my heart was not honoring of my core being. That not representing myself — my needs, and my wants – had literally gotten caught in my throat.
That performing for love, from a place of fear had used up my adrenal glands.
It made sense that I would end up with something that showed up as ‘me’ against ‘me. (Hashimoto’s)
’ My body, attacking a gland that impacts every cell in your being.
It’s been such a beautifully tragic journey to have Hashimoto’s. Because it has taken this diagnosis — this opportunity — to bring me to the healing quality that I truly need to heal from the inside-out: This has inspired me to truly love myself.
I learned that I’m not a victim.
Not to my past.
Not to Hashimoto’s.
Not to the husband who didn’t get it.
Or the family who judged me.
Or the doctors who were related to the Three Stooges.
I swear, they were.
I learned how to forgive.
I learned how to speak my piece – and my peace.
I learned how to love people who were committed to not getting me.
I used it all for my good.
My spirituality changed to something healthy, freeing and balanced. I loved people in great ways, because I finally loved me.
So, I just want you to know the real deal right now: I’m sitting here wishing I had written one of my really funny articles. Not one about being crazy.
Because I’m really funny.
And I’m wishing I had written something really light-hearted instead of heavy.
Because this is heavy. And I’m so over ‘heavy.’ I love light-hearted.
This is so not light-hearted.
But I’m following my heart. And you know, I’m a really good girlfriend. And a really good girlfriend won’t just blow rainbows up your butt. She’ll tell you when there is something in your teeth, when your skirt is tucked into your panties, and you know…when you’re not being good to yourself.
Maybe there are more women who need to hear this part of my story so they know they’re not crazy and they’re not alone — more than they needed to laugh today.
And please, hear this:
Just because I’m telling you about how I connect the mind/body/spirit dots in this, doesn’t mean I’m impractical.
None of this is about me telling you not to take your meds (because I’m not) or that all doctors are bad (because they’re not) or that your food choices don’t matter (because they do.)
I’m just saying, if any of this resonates with you, and after reading this, you’re taking an honest look at how you really see yourself, the question I’m asking is this:
No. Don’t just keep reading. Really think about it.
- Are you in loving relationships?
Do you eat foods that serve your highest good?
- Do you let go of your mistakes and hold onto the lessons instead of the guilt?
- Do you put yourself to bed at a healing time at night?
- Do you speak your truth during the day?
Because if you don’t, this diagnosis of Hashimoto’s, may be your invitation to finally be good to the person you’re going to live with your entire life.
I just want you to know this – in case you’ve been so caught up in the swirl of how close to take your magnesium with your thyroid meds, and which foods actually have gluten…
(As comedian, John Pinette said, “What has gluten? Just everything in life that tastes good and makes life worth living.”) This makes me crazy.
…maybe this will be the reminder that the greatest thing you could ever do, to make the greatest impact on every food you eat, every remedy you try, and every pill you take —
is to go on the journey of loving yourself.
So love someone today
and let it be
Stacey Robbins is an Integrated Wellness Coach, Speaker and Award-Winning Author of “You’re Not Crazy and You’re Not Alone: Losing the Victim, Finding Your Sense of Humor and Learning to Love Yourself through Hashimoto’s.” Her Bloom Beautiful App, (365 Days of Inspiration for Your Soul) is available for the iPhone. Download it here.
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Questions or anything to ask Stacey about her crazy, Italian life? We want your thoughts in the comments section–Please!