The model was diagnosed with the bacterial infection in 2012
Bella Hadid has opened up about her battle with Lyme disease, sharing the symptoms she says she has experienced every day for the last eight years.
Ranging from physical to mental, Hadid says her symptoms include irregular heartbeat, difficulty with breathing, insomnia, headaches, fatigue, anxiety, light and noise sensitivity, thyroid dysfunction, candida, numbness, difficulty walking, confusion, brain fog, and joint pain. “Everyday I feel at least 10 of these attributes without fail... since I was probably 14, but more aggressively when I turned 18,” the model wrote on Instagram, including a long list of symptoms she shared from fellow sufferer Joudie Kalla and marked off.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection which is transmitted by the bite of an infected blacklegged tick. Hadid was first diagnosed with the chronic condition, which her mother and brother also suffer from, in 2012. The model had to give up her dream of a professional riding career and a shot at the Olympics as a result of the diagnosis.
In 2015, Hadid spoke about the “dark time” when she first got sick. “I was exhausted all the time. It affected my memory so I suddenly wouldn’t remember how to drive to Santa Monica from Malibu where I lived. I couldn’t ride. I was just too sick. And I had to sell my horse because I couldn’t take care of it,” she told the Evening Standard.
In 2016, Hadid gave a speech at the Global Lyme Alliance where she was being honoured with an award for raising awareness about the disease. She described how the condition has affected her life including having to be home-schooled during high school. “I know what it feels like to not want to get out of bed from bone pain and exhaustion. Not wanting to socialise or be around people because the anxiety and brain fog just isn’t worth it,” she said.
“Life isn't always what it looks like on the outside, and the hardest part of this journey is to be judged by the way you look instead of the way you feel.”
Sister Gigi, the only one in the family apart from their father to not be afflicted with the disease, has also spoken out about how it has affected their lives and the guilt she has felt for not suffering the condition.
“Growing up, having three of my family members sick made me very independent,” she said in an interview last year with W magazine. “My mom couldn't drive or get out of bed some days, so I took my brother to school with me, or I made lunch.”
“I also felt a lot of guilt for being the one person in the family who didn't understand what they were going through. It's hard when your whole family is in pain and you don't know what to do.”