Bella Hadid is taking a step back from her career amid her years-long battle with Lyme disease.
On Sunday, the top model took to Instagram to share health updates, posting a carousel of medical records, pictures of her in the hospital and others depicting her continuing struggle with the bacterial infection.
“The little me that suffered would be so proud of grown me for not giving up on myself,” Hadid said in the caption, where she also thanked her mother, Yolanda, for “keeping all of my medical records, sticking by me, never leaving my side, protecting, supporting but most of all believing me through all of this”.
Hadid, 26, was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2012. She has since been vocal about living with the disease, which her mother and brother, Anwar, were also diagnosed with.
In the latest update, Hadid, who has arguably become one of the most popular models in the fashion and beauty industries today, said working to make people proud while living with a “worsening” disease “had taken a toll on me in ways I can't explain”.
“To be that sad and sick with the most blessings/privilege/opportunity/love around me was quite possibly the most confusing thing ever,” she added.
Despite this, Hadid went on to explain how she is “finally healthy” and that her fans need not worry.
“I wouldn’t change anything for the world. If I had to go through all of this again, to get here, to this exact moment I’m in right now, with all of you, finally healthy, I would do it all again.”
Based on her experience, she also offered advice to those who might be going through the same.
“The universe works in the most painful and beautiful ways, but I need to say that if you are struggling – it will get better. I promise,” the model said, adding: “Take a step away, stay strong, have faith in your path, walk in your truth and the clouds will start to clear up.
“I have so much gratitude for and perspective on life. This 100+ days of Lyme, chronic disease, co-infection treatment, almost 15 years of invisible suffering, were all worth it if I’m able to, God willing, have a lifetime of spreading love from a full cup, and being able to truly be myself, for the first time ever.”
Continuing the caption, Hadid said she chose the “most positive pictures” she could for the Instagram post.
“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.”
She proceeded to thank the companies and brands she has worked with, as well as her agents. She also expressed gratitude to her doctor and her team of nurses. Hadid ended the caption with: “I'll be back when I'm ready.”
The Instagram post comes days after her sister, Gigi, said Hadid “just finished a long and intense treatment for Lyme disease”.
“I'm so proud of her and excited for her comeback whenever she feels ready,” she added in the Instagram story posted last week.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. It can cause flu-like symptoms and a skin rash. If left untreated, the diseases can affect the joints, heart and nervous system.
According to the Centres for Diseases Control and Prevention, Lyme is one of the most common vector-borne diseases in the US. Other celebrities who have spoken out about dealing with the condition include Justin Bieber, Avril Lavigne and Alec Baldwin.