Now, she’s been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome – a connective tissue disorder that affects around 1 in 5,000 people worldwide.
“I could choose to be embarrassed by these paparazzi pics—I mean, that’s probably the point of someone publishing them in the first place—but I’m really not,” she captioned a photo of herself in her nightgown using a cane on Instagram. “This is what life is like when I’m struggling most with chronic illness. An Ehler-Danlos syndrome flare means that I need support from more than just my friends... so thank you, sweet cane!”
The actress explained that she’d “resisted doing anything” that would make her “physical situation easier” for years, in fear of “making things weird. “But it’s so much less weird to actually be able to participate than to stay in bed all day.”
“And yes, you’d better believe I’m wearing my nightgown,” she continued. “I was walking four feet to the car to go to the doctor and I wanted to be full cozy. I mean, didn’t Bieber wear hotel slippers for like five years? Yeah, so I can wear my glamour nighty for two hours.”
She also included a second snap of herself in a matching blue top and pants – taken that very same day.
“And then an hour later, I’m in a meeting look tackling the job I love,” she explained. “That’s the two-fold life of a woman with chronic illness; we still rock our dreams and goals and passions (and fashions) and we live many lives in one day. Tell me about your day!”
The post quickly garnered more than 129,000 likes, with many celebs and fans sending Lena their words of support.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Ehlers-Danlos primarily affects the skin, bones, blood vessels and other organs and tissues." Symptoms include overly flexible joints and stretchy, fragile skin and can also involve more severe issues relating to pregnancy, heart health and skeletal abnormalities.
Kristen Bell wrote, “Beautiful in both,” while Sarah Hyland, who also has a chronic illness, added, “Thank you.”
Lena is just one of many high-profile names who have recently opened up about the condition. Back in October, Sia tweeted:
“Hey, I’m suffering with chronic pain, a neurological disease, ehlers danlos and I just wanted to say to those of you suffering from pain, whether physical or emotional, I love you, keep going. Life is fucking hard. Pain is demoralising, and you’re not alone.”