Supermodel Bella Hadid has opened up about her mental and physical health struggles. Hadid said her steely model persona is just a “shield and armor” she has developed for a tough industry she’s been involved in since a young age, but that has been breaking down recently, in an intimate new interview with Vogue.

Hadid called the fashion industry’s view of health a “don’t ask don’t tell,” attitude, where she would “go to work, cry at lunch in my little green room, finish my day, go to whatever random little hotel I was in for the night, cry again, wake up in the morning, and do the same thing.”

She said she always felt like the black sheep to her sister Gigi Hadid and admitted she had always been self-critical from a young age. “I always ask myself, how did a girl with incredible insecurities, anxiety, depression, body-image issues, eating issues, who hates to be touched, who has intense social anxiety––what was I doing getting into this business? But over the years I became a good actress,” Bella continued.

Hadid also discussed that she began experiencing physical symptoms from Lyme disease in high school, which her mother, sister and brother all suffer from as well. Lyme disease causes both physical fatigue and mental brain fog, and Hadid developed an eating disorder after she was prescribed Adderall when a therapist misdiagnosed her attention issues as ADHD.

While she overcame these difficulties in her teenage years to foster a great career in modeling, Hadid said these issues came to a head in 2021 when she also began experiencing intense burnout for the first time. She had apparently been dealing with mental health issues holistically until 2021 and said the choice to start taking Wellbutrin and participate in talk therapy were huge steps in improving her mental health.

“There were people online saying, You live this amazing life. So then how can I complain? I always felt I didn’t have the right to complain, which meant that I didn’t have the right to get help, which was my first problem,” Hadid said. She also took a month off from modeling after working, by her guess, about 350 days a year for the past several years, which unsurprisingly also benefitted her mental health greatly.

Hadid is in a much better place this year, but “now everything that I do in my personal life is literally to make sure that my mental state stays above water.” The supermodel ended with advice for aspiring models or designers. “Fashion can make you or break you. And if it makes you, you have to make a conscious effort every day for it not to break you. There’s always a bit of grief in love.”

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