Sarah Hyland on Invisible Illnesses and Self-Acceptance

"We are all stronger than we think we are."

An invisible illness is one where there are no outward signs of your condition. The conditions can be physical—such as endometriosis and heart disease—or mental—such as depression and dementia. Sarah Hyland gave her fans a lesson in self-love. In an emotional Instagram post on the changes, her body has gone through as a result of living with her invisible illness, kidney dysplasia. The actress, 31, opened up about her struggle with self-acceptance.

Invisible Illnesses

“To my fellow #invisibleillness warriors. It’s ok to be insecure about your body,” she wrote in the caption to her post—now removed from the feed—which featured a paparazzi photo of her in a sports bra and her abs on full display.

“Just remember to check in with yourself at least once a day and say thank you. Our bodies have endured unfathomable feats that our minds barely have time to comprehend what has actually happened. With inflammation, excess water gain, and medications, my skin has a hard time bouncing back.”

Hyland added that she first hated the sports bra photo, but ultimately she decided to change her attitude and celebrate her body as it is by sharing it. “Love yourself and be patient,” she wrote. “We are all stronger than we think we are.”

Her fans were in full support of her message. After just a day, the star received more than 4,700 comments, with people praising her for her honest response.

Hyland's Kidney Dysplasia

Hyland's invisible illness, kidney dysplasia, is a congenital—from before birth—condition that causes painful cysts to form in her kidneys. In 2012, she underwent a kidney transplant, yet four years later, her body rejected the kidney that had been donated by her father, which had to be removed.

Four months later, she had a second transplant using her younger brother’s kidney, which Hyland felt conflicted about.

“I was very depressed,” she said. “When a family member gives you a second chance at life, and it fails, it almost feels like it’s your fault. It’s not. But it does. For a long time, I was contemplating suicide, because I didn’t want to fail my little brother like I failed my dad.”

Since then, Hyland has had the support of her family, fans, and husband, Wells Adams, to help her through her recovery from the transplant and her struggles with the emotional side of dealing with a serious medical condition. With her latest post, she's acknowledging these difficulties and encouraging others to feel strong and empowered.

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