Last month was the scariest month of my life. I had a near-death experience due to my auto-immune disorder and an infection. I had been hospitalized, temporarily disabled, and unable to work for the entire month. Not many people knew that I suffered greatly from this disease and it threw a wrench in my plans for the month of June. I wanted to dedicate last month's post to Hidradenitis Suppurativa and spread awareness about a disease that not only impacts my life daily but the lives of many. HS can cause chronic pain and disfiguration of the skin. A lot of studies show that patients with HS experience depression due to how intense the disease can be.
Although I wasn't physically able to carry out my goal due to my HS last month I am still going to share the story of someone who has taken her diagnosis and used it to empower others. I am slowly healing and during this process, it is crucial for me to be transparent and provide resources. Shauna, who I found on Instagram a few months ago, is on a journey to encourage and educate others on HS through Her HS Story. Here is how she got over.
K: Who are you at this very moment?
S: This is a good question. I’d say I am a lover of many things...body-love, good food, family, friends and life.
K. Are you who you thought you’d be? Why or Why not?
S: I think growing up, we all have this idea of who we think we will become, but once we go through life experiences, we kinda just begin to form into something much deeper than we imagined. I always knew I wanted to be and remain a loving person who helped as many people as possible to overcome sadness and I feel like that hasn’t changed in many ways. Today, I enjoy inspiring others, even if it’s just one person.
K: What is your life’s mission?
S: My life’s mission is to help as many women as possible by teaching them how to love themselves unconditionally.
K: How did you get over?
S: As a child, I was sexually abused and experienced traumatic domestic abuse, inflicted upon my mother and siblings. I carried a lot of pain into my teenage years and adulthood but always had a huge smile on my face. This manifested itself into body dysmorphia and poor emotional eating habits. I only began working on my mental health and self-love just 4 short years ago. Since then, It’s been my mission to help other women overcome their food & body battles. Through helping others, I was able to heal myself and I am forever grateful for my life experiences, as they’ve shaped who I am and how I show up for my followers today.
K: Share your light (quote, song, lyric, photo, memory)
My mother is my light. Her name is Hope...ironic right? because that’s literally what she gives me whenever I’m faced with my most challenging moments in life. She’s been through so much and has overcome all of it. My perseverance and tenacity definitely come from her.
K: How has HS impacted your life?
S: I was faced with an extremely painful and debilitating autoimmune disease, called Hidradenitis Suppurativa at the age of 14 and diagnosed with the name around the age of 23. It was a really challenging condition to cope with, especially through high school. Though I’ve been in remission for a while now, I’ve learned a lot about myself throughout my entire experience with HS. I learned how strong I am, and I learned how to find the silver lining in every present moment. I learned that our thoughts, beliefs and mental health truly due affect our bodies and how it manifests into physical illness. I’m still learning so much but HS has been bittersweet because it’s definitely helped shape who I am today but it also was not the most fun experience and it still pains me to see others battling with this disease.
K: What are your goals with Her HS Story?
My mom calls me the Oprah of the HS Community lol. She’s super cute but honestly, my goal for Her HS Story is to really just be a supportive shoulder to lean on within our community. Definitely not a pitty-party type of vibe but more of an empowering movement. I used to hideout about my HS because I felt ashamed. It’s not the most “glamorous” condition. It’s messy, traumatizing, painful and REAL. My goal is to help survivors break out of the closet and stop hiding. The only way we can spread awareness is by talking about our experience and braving through the initial feeling of embarrassment. I’ve helped many people confirm their HS diagnosis with their doctors, just by sharing my story publically. I’ve also been torn down for sharing my personal experience and that's okay too. As long as I help even 1 person with my story, then I have fulfilled my purpose here.
1 Tip for people struggling with HS, is to work on your self-love and mental health. Do whatever you have to do to remind yourself that you are worthy of love no matter your circumstance. We tend to be so hard on ourselves about a situation that can literally impact any human being. We are human and humans get sick sometimes. It’s not our fault and we are still worthy of love and acceptance.
YOU CAN FIND SHAUNA'S WEBSITE AND SUBSCRIBE TO HER YOUTUBE CHANNEL BELOW:
Personal Website: www.shaunasincerely.com
Her HS Story TV: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHa8UoL45ZxWbv9_eORde3Q