The Mighty Logo

Halsey Perfectly Describes What's So Scary About Being 'That Sick Girl'

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Physical symptoms are just one piece of living with a chronic illness. What’s talked about less often is the emotional effect those physical symptoms can have on you, and how difficult it can be to navigate relationships when you have an illness. Halsey, whose songs include “Bad at Love,” “Him and I” and “Closer” with the Chainsmokers, revealed that fears of her friends and loved ones “giving up” on her continue to haunt her even as her endometriosis symptoms have improved.

In her acceptance speech at the Endometriosis Foundation of America’s annual Blossom Ball on Monday night, where she was awarded the 2018 Blossom Award, Halsey explained that she had struggled with feeling insecure and “less of a woman” because she couldn’t be intimate with her boyfriend and go out with her friends. She experienced these feelings in addition to dealing with physical symptoms like digestion issues, fainting and fatigue.

After she had laparoscopic surgery and ablation, a procedure less effective than the “gold standard” excision surgery, her symptoms started to feel better. Now she’s able to “go out and do stuff,” and is in a new relationship with someone who loves her and cares about what she’s gone through. But she still struggles with fears about what her friends would do if her health worsened again.

She said:

I still wake up every day and I am scared that if I become that sick girl again that all of those people will go away, that fears can haunt me for the rest of my life, that if I get sick again, if I get bad like I was, that my friends aren’t going to understand, that my partner is not going to understand, that everybody is going to give up on me because I am a lot easier to deal with when I am healthy than I am when I am sick.

Halsey revealed that she had always had painful periods but was told she was “sensitive” and “overdramatic.” She wasn’t diagnosed with endometriosis until she had a miscarriage at 20 years old, which happened right before she went onstage and performed in front of an audience of 1,200 plus 33 million online.

She described her “very young, very scared, very male” managers having no idea what to do and telling her how big a deal the concert was.

“It was in that moment that I realized that part of being a woman and dealing with reproductive health is being treated like you’re not a human, is being treated like you’re a robot and you’re supposed to wake up every day and get over it,” she said. “But it was also in that moment that I realized that I could overcome anything and that if I wanted to pursue this career and I wanted this pursue this path, there was absolutely nothing that was going to get in my f-ing way.”

She said after she tweeted about her endometriosis in 2016, she’s had hundreds of people come to her concerts and meet-and-greets and tell her they got diagnosed after she drew their attention to it. These experiences of meeting others with endometriosis and hearing their stories give her hope and help her deal with her fears and feel proud to share her story.

“To any of my fans and friends and people listening to me who may not know anything about me or never heard a song, if you’re struggling with endometriosis or any chronic illness for that matter, you need to know it’s not something that makes you weak, it’s about what you have overcome,” she said. “And every battle that you’re in helps you win the war at the end of the day.”

Last November, Halsey revealed she was sick and needed an IV before a concert, so she invited the fans she was scheduled to meet back to hang out in her dressing room.

“This post isn’t so that you applaud me. It’s a reminder to everyone struggling with chronic illness that YOU GOT THIS!!!! Ur a boss go kick some ass. and if u can’t right now, that’s okay too. You’ll be kickin ass in no time,” she wrote.

Image via Wikimedia Commons/Toglenn

Originally published: March 21, 2018
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