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'DWTS' Judge Talks About the Shame Her Chronic Illnesses Make Her Feel

Update: On Sept. 26, Carrie Ann Inaba revealed during an episode of “Live With Kelly and Ryan” she has been diagnosed with lupus, according to Oprah Magazine. The reality TV star and talk show host said she was actually diagnosed years earlier with the autoimmune condition that can cause chronic pain, fatigue and other symptoms. However, her doctor forgot to tell her. 

“I was diagnosed with autoimmune six years ago, but my doctor didn’t tell me I had lupus., Inaba said. “I was having a colonoscopy, and I saw my chart [said] lupus, and I was like, ‘This is not my chart,’ and they were like, ‘You have lupus.’”

Carrie Ann Inaba, a judge on “Dancing With the Stars” and co-host on “The Talk” opened up about living with chronic illness and the shame she feels about it. She discussed what it’s like living with multiple invisible illnesses including Sjögren’s syndrome, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis as well as her desire to be the healthy person she appears to be on the outside.

Inaba spoke candidly about what it feels like when your body doesn’t cooperate in a way that works with your lifestyle. She revealed that she is currently going through a flare-up and that her symptoms are currently worse.

“I look healthy and I am really healthy, all things considered,” Inaba said during Tuesday’s taping. “But then, I have these incredible sharp pains. Like today, the hairstylist was doing my hair and he barely touched me, but I thought he burnt me with a curling iron because my body is in a fibromyalgia flare.”

Fibromyalgia is a complicated condition that puts your body in a constant state of “fight or flight.” Being touched was significantly more painful for Inaba because her body was already in a lot of pain.

Inaba referenced how she looks healthy because she spent two hours having her hair and makeup done that morning, and admitted she doesn’t feel as healthy as the world perceives her to be.

She said she felt shameful for not being the person the world believes her to be. “I feel so much shame when I go through these things because I want to be what people see,” she said. “And people see a healthy person from the outside.”

Although she said she has negative feelings about her illnesses, Inaba doesn’t want herself or others to feel that way. “I want to encourage people,” she said. “Because even though I feel shame, I know at the same time I shouldn’t feel shame.”

After the show, Inaba took to her Instagram to talk more about what it’s like to live with invisible illness and why she was so open about it on national television.

“I share this so that others will not feel so alone with their own menu of conditions,” she said. “You probably would not guess that behind that smile, I’m in a lot of pain. But I know my fellow warriors out there understand… and I will not give up trying to heal myself and find solutions. I will also not stop smiling because that is something I can do despite the pain.”

 

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Happy Tuesday! Today we talked about #invisibleillness and how debilitating it can be. I shared my story and my current struggle with my invisible Illnesses. I have a few autoimmune syndromes and I’m currently in a pretty bad flare.????. The pain has been very challenging this time… for those of you who know – flares come in all different shapes and sizes. I’ve been good at finding solutions that work for me and at managing the pain and difficulties of my previous flare ups but this one has been tougher than usual. And it has humbled me once again. Most Autoimmune syndromes come with friends. I have Sjögren’s syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Rheumatoid Arthritis with markers for APL syndrome. And I share this so that others will not feel so alone with their own menu of conditions. You probably would not guess that behind that smile, I’m in a lot of pain. But I know my fellow #warriors out there understand… and I will not give up trying to heal myself and find solutions. I will also not stop smiling because that is something I can do despite the pain. It’s a never ending rollercoaster, this journey, but it’s mine and I have also learned beautiful things from it. I am so grateful I have an amazing support system of friends and family and the beautiful ladies of @thetalkcbs who touched my heart deeply with their love and support today. It makes the journey so much better. Feeling grateful. ???? May we all keep lifting each other up by sharing our stories so that we can find healing and share it with each other. #autoimmunedisease #fibromyalgia #sjogrenssyndrome #rheumatoidarthritis #pain #invisibleillness #warriors #carrieannconversations #thetalk #gratitude #lifelessons #life #healthandwellness

A post shared by Carrie Ann Inaba (@carrieanninaba) on

This isn’t the first time Inaba has opened up about health struggles. In an interview with People earlier this year, she discussed how she was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a condition that causes the gaps within your spine to narrow, in 2007.

“When you’re in chronic pain, you become exhausted because your body is fighting this pain all the time,” she said in the interview. “Pain is a life stealer. And it’s hidden, so people can’t see it or understand it.”

If you, like Inaba, feel shame about your illnesses or symptoms, you are not alone. Share your experiences with others who get it and join The Mighty’s chronic illness community. You can also check out these articles: 

Image via Wikimedia Commons/QuicksilverFX0