The Mighty Logo

15 People With Chronic Illnesses You Should Be Following on Instagram

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Living with chronic illness can be lonely, which is why it’s important to find others who understand what you’re going through.

When you need to recharge and practice self-care, it often helps to have tools to take your mind away from reality for a little while. But sometimes, looking at reality —and turning to others who have been in your shoes — is helpful.

Many people living with chronic illness, use their experience to educate others and bring awareness to their conditions. As a result, this tends to foster a sense of community for many who may be struggling. Sharing your story with others has the ability to bring comfort to others living with chronic conditions and start meaningful conversations.

Here are 15 Instagrammers who live with chronic illness and share their lives in various ways.

1. Ardra Shephard (@ms_trippingonair) 

If you struggle with confidence while using a mobility aid, you may want to take a look at Ardra Shephard’s Instagram. Shephard is a prominent figure in the #babeswithmobilityaids movement. She lives with multiple sclerosis and uses her page to show that it is perfectly fine to use mobility aids of any kind.

2. Laura Armenta (@chronicsadgirlsclub)

Interested in how using cannabis can help with chronic illness? Laura Armenta’s Instagram is a great place to start. Armenta began Chronic Sad Girls Club in “response to the continuous lack of representation and support for mentally and chronically ill femmes of color who medicate with cannabis.” She shows the reality of living with chronic illness while advocating for the use of medical cannabis.

3. Claire Nakazawa (@service.angel.percie)


View this post on Instagram


During the last week of my senior year in high school, my friends and I decided we were going to fulfill the age old tradition of climbing into the cupola at the top of one of our buildings and signing our names. There were two ladders; one that climbed slightly up to a landing and a second smaller one that led into the tiny roof area. One of my teachers was on the landing portion, and called down to me. “Do you want me to come down so I can hold Percie for you while you climb up?” I shook my head and told her she didn’t need to climb down; Percie could wait on the landing with her. I didn’t know for sure whether or not Percie would climb this ladder, but what I did know is that it didn’t hurt to try. It was a spooky place and a funny looking ladder, honestly even I was a little weirded out. But as a friend spotted from behind, I climbed and called for Percie to join me, she hesitated for a moment at the angle, then began to climb alongside me. Any typical dog would have balked at that; whined or barked, shook with fear or refused to even come close. But my girl – my sweet girl – was fearless. . A great misconception held by the general public is that service dogs are akin to servants, forced to assist and comply with handler’s demands. This couldn’t be further from the truth. . The bond between a service dog and their handler is perhaps one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever witnessed or experienced in my life; it is a symbiotic relationship where both beings entrust the other in their care. As I trust Percie will take care of me and lend a paw when I need it most, she trusts that I will always have her best interest in mind; that I will always be her biggest advocate. It is a beautiful trust that cannot be taught, commanded, replicated, no matter how hard somebody might try. . Instead, it is born out of hard work – sweat & tears – it is the culmination of training and communication, of structure and discipline, of praise and loyalty and most of all, unwavering devotion. It is the fearless kind of love. Let us love like this all our lives. (PS a pal carried her back down the ladder. Caution and safety ensured.)

A post shared by Claire & Percie (@service.angel.percie) on

For those who wonder what having a service dog is like, Claire Nakazawa is a great person to follow. Nakazawa chronicles life as a spoonie and service dog handler. Her eloquently worded posts speak to the reality of living with chronic illness. She also uses her page to educate others on the role service dogs play for their handlers.

4. Jameisha Prescod (@youlookokaytome)


View this post on Instagram


I saw a post the other day by @girlandhermoon that said “Stop the glorification of busy.” I have to admit, I have been guilty of this one for sure ???? I think the glorification of busy is directly tied to the idea of productivity being the measure of someone’s worth. ⠀ ⠀ It’s kind of like a badge of honour when you tell someone “I was up all night working on that project” or simply “I’ve just been so busy.” Saying this doesn’t always mean you’re showing off, but admittedly, I’d use phrases like to prove to people I’m not lazy; that I’m a hard worker. ⠀ ⠀ Rather than glorifying busy, I want to prioritise my physical and mental health. Sure, some days will be more packed than others, but I hope to organise my time better in the future. Also I want to allow myself to rest when it gets too much and not work myself into a dark place. ????⠀ ⠀ [#imagedescription A photo of Jameisha. A woman with dark skin, long black braids and glasses. She is wearing a black hoodie. She sits at a white desk leaning on her left arm. In front of her is a laptop] ⠀ ⠀ #youlookokaytome #chronicillness #spoonie #chronicpain #invisibleillness #selflove #wellness #health #mindfulness #mentalhealth #wellbeing #autoimmunedisease #pain #lupus #disability #disabilityblogger #mentalhealthawareness #art #blackandwhite #illustration #blackgirlmagic #blackgirlsrock #productivity #busy

A post shared by You Look Okay To Me (@youlookokaytome) on

Humor is often hard to come by in the chronic illness community, but Jameisha Prescod’s content is light-hearted while being educational, and generally refreshing. Prescod uses her Instagram to give insight into her life with lupus. She also creates relatable videos that can demonstrate the frustrations of living with a chronic illness.

5. Michael Towers (@chronichealingblog)


View this post on Instagram


“Rest before you are tired” is one of the most common pieces of advice I see given to the Chronically Ill online and in books and articles. . It seems harmless enough. But although it makes sense not to exhaust yourself… For anyone with ME/CFS, an energy reproduction issue at the cellular level, I’ve found it an extremely problematic one. . I mean… I’m always tired! So how can I rest before I get tired if I’m always feeling like even taking a few steps can wipe me out for a long time, depending on the day. It seems advice only useful for those with mild ME/CFS who are still able to function well and work full time without getting ill unless they really push themselves… . But for anyone even moderately effected, the statement can actually be quite detrimental. I used to often think of this advice that I saw over and over, while bedridden, thinking that if I was permanently tired, I must not be resting enough. That’s why this advice, for me, was actually quite dangerous. If I rested when I was tired, I’d always rest. And then I would get sicker and sicker and sicker. . I do understand where the advice comes from. It comes from those mildly affected and taken at face value, it can be good natured enough. But I think for those more affected, it can be downright dangerous. All activity makes me tired. All activity makes my nervous system play up. All activity gives me payback. All of it. But I most certainly should not be avoiding taking the one step that makes me exhausted, resting instead. . I think a healthier way to frame this may be… “Rest before you hit zero.” Because often when I try to do something, I can feel okay for a little bit. A short walk can be okay and when I stop, I may feel like I could do more. But I’m not realising what’s happening in my body. . As energy runs out in the body, especially in those with compromised cellular energy production, to keep the body going, adrenaline kicks in. So when I hit zero or very low, but I feel like I can do more!! That’s adrenaline speaking. And that’s when I’m borrowing from tomorrow what must be paid back. . ???? CONTINUED IN COMMENTS ????

A post shared by Michael Towers (@chronichealingblog) on

Michael Towers is an Australian chronic illness blogger who gives an in-depth look at myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. Alongside his blogging account, he has developed one for a little comic entitled, “Chronic Fatigue Superhero” — a character that demonstrates the feats those with chronic illness accomplish.

6. Christina Doherty (@watercolor_me_impressed)


View this post on Instagram


???? So tickled to be back in nature again! It’s truly amazing what a little green can do for your body and spirit! (Full disclosure, theres a huge pile of discarded braces just out of frame). ???? Today was my last day of appointments after a crazy week of very specialized and intensive neurological rehab. I won’t lie, things have been kind of rough lately. This week has brought us a lot of answers, but also a lot of questions. The amount of damage my brain, spinal cord, and nervous system have sustained over the last few years is profound. The more I have tried to “go back” to “normal” life, the more that has become apparent. That is one of the main reasons I haven’t been able to edit vlogs for a while (even though I am still filming). There’s still a lot we don’t know, but what we DO know is that there is still a lot of HOPE. Yes, I will have to work my ???? off to try to attempt rewire some of the damaged pathways, but so far, it looks like I still have a fighting chance. ????????

A post shared by Christina Doherty (@watercolor_me_impressed) on

Christina Doherty’s colorful Instagram has amassed quite a following. She provides a raw look into life with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and tries to spread positivity even during tough times. In addition, she shares recipes that are easily adaptable for food sensitivities.

7. Lauren Vasko (@lauren.vasko)


View this post on Instagram


Cultivate Kindness • We are called to love! Love not just when you believe in a person, but love when it’s hard to love, in the hardest of times, in the hardest of friendships. Love doesn’t stop at friends and family; love starts at friends and family. So to me, love is where kindness comes from, where it’s rooted. Kindness is almost the external view or action we see from others, but love is where the kindness is rooted from. We see kindness, but feel the love. Share the love, show the kindness. Shirt from @alignedblessings Love always -Laur❤️ . . . . . #eds #zebrastrong #ehlersdanlossyndrome #chronicillness #pots #anaphylaxis #crps #complexregionalpainsyndrome #chronicpain #chronicillnesswarrior #chronicillnessawareness #youtube #youtuber #chronicillnessyoutuber #medicalyoutuber #healthyoutuber #smallyoutuber #irritablebowelsyndrome #mcas #mcad #mastcellactivationsyndrome #mastcellacivationdisorder #posturalorthostatictachycardiasyndrome #mals #heds #hypermobileeds #fibromyalgia #christian #alignedblessings #alignedblessingsambassador

A post shared by Life With Chronic Illnesses (@lauren.vasko) on

Instagram content can be redundant from time to time, but Lauren Vasko’s page offers a fun reprieve. While Vasko talks about her own experiences with chronic illness as well as her Christian faith. A pretty neat component of her account is that she creates bingo boards for various illnesses and disorders. All you do is mark your symptoms on a screenshot of the bingo and upload it to your story with #chronicillnessbingo. Don’t forget to tag her!

8. Jess Paulsen (@henryshandler)


View this post on Instagram


I’m going to start doing something I’ve never done before. I’m going to ask for help. You know those times when people offer you something and you politely decline because you don’t want to put them out or be a burden? That’s me. Example: A few months back a friend of mine offered to help with laundry or dishes while staying at our home (you know who you are ♥️) and I politely declined. She was a guest. But you know what is still sitting in my laundry room? A MOUNTAIN of clothing ranging from dirty to clean that I’ll probably never get through. I needed the help, someone actually offered the help and still, I decided for no reason to make my life more difficult. Now will laundry change my life? Will dishes being done suddenly cure me? No. But the hours and energy that those things take adds up. The helping hands that I constantly refuse, add up. The energy it takes, however minimal, adds up. I’m not saying I’ll suddenly be taking advantage of people and their kindness, not at all. I’m simply going to accept the kindness people are already extending and willing to give and in return I can pay it forward. The energy I save could be used to answer messages, edit videos, respond to emails, all things that result in helping others as well. Next time I’m at the store and they offer to bring my bags to the car and load them up? I’m accepting the help without shame, without guilt. Some things I’ll have to do alone but not ALL things have to be done alone.

A post shared by Jess Paulsen (@henryshandler) on

A bold voice you should follow is Jess Paulsen. Paulsen gives a massive audience a glimpse into life with a service dog on her other account, @kinghenryofnashville. This account, however, serves to inform others of her own conditions (POTS and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome for example) in more detail. She doesn’t shy away from telling it how it is, and sometimes we need to hear it.

9. Julian Van Horne (@thedisabledhippie)


View this post on Instagram


HAPPY PRIDE???? _ Love every scar. Every roll. Every blemish. Stretch mark. Each freckle. Both of your uneven curves. Every inch of cellulite. Your stoma. Your natural hair. Because ALL bodies are good bodies. Say it louder for the people in the back???????? _ You’re the only YOU that exists. Everything about you is beautifully and uniquely you. Embrace this one body and one life that you have. You have to spend the rest of your life with yourself. _ It’s taken me a long time to get to this place. Living as a trans person and enduring transition has been a long journey. You fight and kick the whole way, only to STILL struggle with your appearance. I didn’t get to enjoy my transition in a typical manor. I was battling chronic health conditions on top of trying to become myself. It created a lot of hurtles to jump over. I had to accept new devices attached to me while I wasn’t done trying to love myself during transition. _ I slowly learned to accept and love myself. This doesn’t mean I’m not still insecure about certain aspects. I get anxiety. I get worried about how I look. Before I got top surgery I used to cover my chest in over shirts that were way too big. I thought when I got top surgery I’d be able to wear whatever I wanted. But then I just got self conscious about something else instead— my hips. So, now I tie shirts around my waist. But I’ve accepted it. I’ve accepted that I am the way I am. _ But the best part about transformation, is that it’s never over. We’re never done evolving and trying to become our best self. So, maybe bit by bit try to accept something about yourself every day. I’m not saying it’s an easy journey, or even a short one. But I’m saying it’s worth it. ✨ _ I’m still learning to love the parts of myself that no one claps for— Rudy Francisco???? @blofishclothing Thank you for the amazing shirt!????????????

A post shared by Julian Van Horne (@thedisabledhippie) on

A familiar face here at The Mighty, Julian Van Horne advocates for both the disability and LGBTQ+ communities. Though he takes on tough topics, Van Horne uses trigger warnings to help his followers prioritize their mental health and decide whether they want to continue reading.

10. Ariel L. (@carpe_that__diem)


View this post on Instagram


Three truths about how I interact with my surroundings: I’m very easily amused; I’m quick to anger; I’m constantly humbled. Sometimes all at once! At the time this picture was taken, I was pleased as punch that we were outside in nature (even if it was curated and simulated nature in the heart of downtown). I was also getting pissy because I was on the verge of exhaustion after a long day. But, as pictured here, I was also in sheer awe of, well, everything. I have a living creature who shadows me, anticipates most of my movements, and assists me in my complex life functions. I have a partner who uplifts and supports me. The friend who took this picture has been attending doctors’ visits and tending to my surgical after-care for two years. (The friend who took this picture also took *several* pictures over the course of this day so that I may keep my feed populated, knowing full-well that my photogenic opportunities are few and far between.) Over the past week, I’ve been in awe of the attention and feedback that @thedisabledhippie and I have received on our posts for pride. I’ve been stunned by the experiences that other folks have shared because of it—overall, I’ve been touched deeply by what y’all as a whole have confided to me since I’ve started this ig. Life is sublime. Being alive is sublime. Being aware of the enormity of life and the other lives co-existing in it is absolutely incredible.

A post shared by Ariel L. (@carpe_that__diem) on

Ariel lives with fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s. He often collaborates with Julian Van Horne and, like Van Horne, focuses his content on living with a chronic illness as a trans individual and service dog handler.

11. Ellen Inouye (@mysteryelles)


View this post on Instagram


I don’t know if this is a “you look like a little kid” thing, a “you’re wearing a neck brace” thing, a “you’re driving a spaceship (Wheelie with lights on)” thing, a they recognize me, and/or just something that happens to me Over the past few years (and increasingly so more recently) I have a couple of frequent interactions with people. Neither of which I have very strong ➖ or ➕ emotions attached to, just struck me as odd because I don’t notice it happening to other people and my mom noticed and told me (mostly that) 1) they treat me like a little kid And what I mean by this is not just the bringing me kids menus and not having me go through security, but more things that I don’t realize until the interaction is over that it was awkward First off about 50% (90% when at Disney) of people make their voice go up higher in octave when speaking to me or just skip me all together and go straight for whoever is with me Secondly and most awkwardly (luckily it doesn’t happen too often) when being spoken to people will put their hands on their knees and lean on them, crouching down to talk to me (in a way that I have only ever seen people talk to young kids and me) Third, by the types of questions being asked, I can tell they think I am very young People frequently think I am the younger sister (I am 2.5 years older – although my brother does look older) Or while we were in Disneyland: “Hi Princess, … *insert question about Mickey or princess movies or favorite color”, “Has anyone given you a sticker?”, blowing kisses, waving, tipping hats, … Or 2) randomly come up to me and say “bless your heart” or “god bless you” This always confuses me because I don’t even know what “bless your heart” is supposed to mean and I didn’t do anything that should cause those things to be said They usually get said from what I can tell in complete random fashion or in passing In Disneyland it was the most awkward because I would just be chilling watching or waiting for something and people will just be walking by, look at me, and say one of the phrases One time I even had a lady follow me, stop me, say “bless your heart”, and then just walked away

A post shared by Ellen Christine (@mysteryelles) on

Most spoonies can attest to how trying chronic illness can be. Ellen Inouye is upfront about how her conditions — Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and New Daily Persistent Headache among others — impact her life. 

12. Ijmal Razi Haider (@raziblog)

Speaking from experience, it is difficult to find people from South Asian communities that openly discuss their experiences with chronic illness. That’s why more voices like Ijmal Haider’s are needed in the chronic illness community. Hailing from Canada with Pakistani roots, Haider lives with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). His Instagram is full of beautiful, bright photos, as well as pictures of his treatments and hospital visits.

13. Alisha M. Bridges (@alishambridges)

If you’re looking for both style inspiration and chronic illness advocacy in one place, give Alisha M. Bridges a follow. Bridges’ Instagram radiates a fashionista vibe, as she uses the platform to spread awareness about psoriasis

14. Zoe Mckenie (@activelyautoimmune)

If you want some motivation to get your exercise routine going, take a peek at physiotherapist and Pilates instructor Zoe Mckenie’s Instagram. Mckenie lives with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Lupus, and bladder pain. Her content is a happy medium between exercise and education. Because of her own experience, her instructional videos are catered to spoonies.

15. Krithika Reddy (@bigkrits)


View this post on Instagram


Knowledge is our greatest weapon against endometriosis ???? Millions of us go through endless cycles of suffering because we don’t have access to the right professionals and treatment. The cards are stacked against women with endo but that’s why we have to be smarter than our profit based industries. I met an amazing endo warrior yesterday who has had 9 ablation ablation surgeries (sadly this is common) and has taken the initiative to start a program called Endo Gate, which is now being incorporated at MIT, to offer units as insensitives for doctors to learn the proper way to diagnosis and treat endometriosis. I’m no expert but I’m trained in scientific research and I’m here if you have any questions about my experience with endometriosis and excision, or anything ???????????? this is a part of my insurance appeal btw, I better get my ???? back

A post shared by Krithika Reddy (@bigkrits) on

Krithika Reddy is an Indian model who is open about her experience living with endometriosis. While a lot of her content is about her modeling career, she also shares her personal story and endeavors in activism. 

To connect with more people living with chronic illness, download The Mighty’s app and share your thoughts with a community who truly gets it. 

Header image via @service.angel.percie, @chronicsadgirlsclub, and @thedisabledhippie
Originally published: July 10, 2019
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home