These days, when it comes to women’s health issues, taking to social media and addressing the problem—and the accompanying treatments and solutions—is quickly becoming the norm. This week found Lena Dunham’s heart-rending essay about her decision to have a hysterectomy (penned for the pages of Vogue) sweeping the scene, and now, just days later, Bella Hadid opens up about her struggles with social anxiety. The super appeared on mother Yolanda’s new Lifetime series, Making a Model, to level with the runway hopefuls, divulging that her initial jolt into the mainstream sometimes left her physically shaking and crying, uncomfortable states of mind she was forced to face in an effort to get the job done. Hadid even added that she tended to “black out” when she walked the runway, a common symptom of anxiety disorders. “I would come out and be like, ‘Oh well, I guess it’s over,’ ” she said to one young girl in particular.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, social anxiety disorder can manifest as an experience of fear-based symptoms—nausea, trembling, rapid heartbeat, rigid body posture, a tendency to witness the mind “going blank”—in certain or all social situations. And though photo shoots and red carpet events may not be realities for the average American, 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older suffer from anxiety disorders, which imbue a variety of events, from board meetings to social gatherings, with a veil of unease.
Hadid has been refreshingly candid about her health issues in the past, sharing details about living with Lyme disease, but this most recent share comes at a time when women seem to be shifting the paradigm of truth-telling from last resort to basic instinct. From Selena Gomez’s fight against Lupus and subsequent kidney transplant to Chrissy Teigen’s trials with infertility to sister Gigi Hadid’s recent series of tweets addressing her experience with Hashimoto’s disease, women of influence are using their power and incredible social followings to bring awareness (and, one imagines, funding and research) to important causes—all while reminding followers that they are not alone in their personal battles.