Bella Hadid, a Palestinian-American supermodel and influencer, has always been open about her physical and mental struggles. After revealing her devastating run with Lyme disease, an illness that cut her budding career as an equestrian athlete short, she became even more candid about her mental health as well. And earlier this week, an intimate series of posts revealed just how willing she was to share her personal battles head-on.
Bella’s Instagram account with more than 47 million followers shared a series of selfies of her crying with a strong message of compassion as a show of support to fellow celebrity Willow Smith’s recent mental wellbeing posts.
“Social media is not real. For anyone struggling, please remember that. Sometimes all you’ve got to hear is that you aren’t alone. So from me to you, I’m here. I love you, I see you, and I hear you.” she penned down, detailing how what we see on social media is merely a façade, carefully curated and how it affects us psychologically.
Bella emphasized how mental health isn’t a linear process, no one’s battles are the same, and it’s an active struggle. No two battles are similar, and it’s an ongoing struggle. “It’s almost like a rollercoaster, it has its ups and downs, and side to sides,” she explains.
“But there is always light at the end of the tunnel. That rollercoaster does stop, and you can get off.” She noted, hopeful that feelings of despair might come and go, but they never last forever. A thought that comforts her is “even if it’s a few days, weeks, or months, it does get better.”
“It took me a while, but I’ve had enough breakdowns and burnouts to know this. If you work on yourself, spending time alone to understand your traumas and routine, you will always understand your pain and how to handle it. Which is all that you can ask of yourself,” she concluded.
Hadid being so transparent about her struggles helped bring forward a conversation that was always in the background: the connection between mental health and chronic illness. In 2016, when Bella publicized that she had Lyme disease, an illness plagued with fatigue and muscle pain, it helped spread awareness around depression and the most common complication of chronic illness. Up to one out of every three individuals with a severe medical condition have the following signs of depression.
So when big name stars like Bella Hadid talk so clearly and openly about their mental health struggles, it spreads awareness around the issues and helps others tap into resources available to seek help on their own. It helps when the privileged use their platform to advocate for a more compassionate society and work towards better mental health. This way, the taboo around mental health gets reduced and, together as a society, we move forward.