Top model Bella Hadid has explained that her absence from key fashion events this year is likely to continue, saying in an emotional Instagram post on Sunday that she will return to the catwalk when “ready,” after seeking treatment for ongoing health problems.
Alongside a series of pictures showing herself receiving what appear to be medical treatments, Hadid wrote: “Living in this state, worsening with time and work while trying to make myself, my family and the people who support me, proud, had taken a toll on me in ways I can’t really explain.”
She added that she was “okay,” “finally healthy” and “wouldn’t change anything for the world…it made who I am today.”
Hadid has said previously that she has Lyme disease, a tick-borne disease that can commonly cause symptoms of fever, chills, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, neck stiffness, shortness of breath, headache, fatigue and a rash. She told Vogue last year that her symptoms began in eighth grade.
In April, Hadid said on TikTok that she had a tooth infection that led to health complications, and in her most recent post, she described “15 years of invisible suffering.”
An estimated 476,000 Americans are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease each year, although the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say this is probably an overcount because people are sometimes treated without official confirmation that they have the disease.
Left untreated, the infection can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system, according to the CDC.
In Sunday’s post, Hadid thanked her “mommy…for sticking by me,” as well as her agents, employers, supporters, “genius Dr, and her INCREDIBLE team of nurses.”
She dedicated a separate post to her dog, saying: “And God Bless my Angel Glizzy P.Beans aka Petunia aka Beans for never leaving my side not for one second,” alongside photos of her dog lying next her while she undergoes treatment.
Although the photos Hadid shared depict her at vulnerable points, she said she “tried to pick the most positive pictures…because as painful as this experience was, the outcome was the most enlightening experience of my life filled with new friends, new visions and a new brain.”