Leigh Blander is an experienced TV, radio and print journalist who has written hundreds of stories for local newspapers, including the Marblehead Reporter. She also works as a PR specialist.
On the outside, Wendy Tamis Robbins of Marblehead appeared to have the perfect life. An Ivy League graduate and successful lawyer, she had a new husband, new home and two lovely step-children.
But on the inside, she was still battling the anxiety, OCD and panic disorders that had plagued her for 40 years.
“I was functioning at a very high level,” Robbins said. “I had learned a lot of tricks. I had a lot of tools in my toolbox. But I wanted to know if I could step fully outside that box.”
Through years of therapy, workshops and what she calls “self-discovery work,” Robbins has learned to live outside the box that anxiety had trapped her for decades.
In 2021, she published a book about her journey called “The Box: An Invitation to Freedom from Anxiety.”
“The book started with a question,” Robbins explained. “Could I actually live my life without accommodating my anxiety on a daily basis? I started to really do some deep internal work and write through all of that — through the exposure therapy and the internal family systems therapy. The stars in the sky started to form patterns and things started to make sense and I could see my way out of the box.”
Then last April, Robbins was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer.
“The next six months were really just all about surgery and chemotherapy,” she said. “For the first time since middle school, I had time to be and heal and focus on that. It gave me time to reset my compass.”
Robbins decided to stop practicing law after 24 years and focus on sharing her experiences with anxiety to help others. She launched a career as a coach and speaker and founded the CAVE Club, which is virtual for now but may meet in person soon.
“The CAVE Club is a safe place for women to get both one-on-one coaching and support from other women,” she said. “I had been talking to a ton of women who were really struggling. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted women, especially professional women. The CAVE Club is a place for them to be vulnerable and find the support they need from a dynamic and diverse group of professional women.”
Robbins also coaches individual clients — men and women, ranging in age from early teens through 75 years old — to help them with “anxiety, depression, mindset work and awareness/mindfulness.”
She also leads corporate wellness programs addressing anxiety, stigma, loneliness and connection.
“I’m passionate about this work because when I spoke my own truth, it not only transformed and saved my life, it gave others permission to come out of the shadows and speak their truth, finding the redemption and transformation,” she said. “That’s the ripple effect I want to create as my way of creating the change I wish to see in the world.”
To learn more about Robbins and her work, visit wendytamisrobbins.com.
Mental health and wellness coach Wendy Tamis Robbins will be writing a regular column for the Marblehead Current. See the first installment of “Ending the Stigma” here.