When Carrie Ann Inaba, "Dancing with the Stars" judge and new co-host of "The Talk," revealed she has suffered from chronic pain since her 2007 diagnosis of spinal stenosis, a wave of empathy and validation washed over the chronic pain community. “Wow. Even her, too?”
Inaba stated, “When you’re in chronic pain, you become exhausted because your body is fighting this pain all the time. Pain is a life stealer. And it’s hidden, so people can’t see it or understand it.”
Three things happen for us when a celebrity opens up about a diagnosis and shares the fact of their chronic pain with us.
First, they help to destigmatize their condition. The condition becomes more visible and relatable. Suddenly, we see our friends and family changing their attitudes toward our condition, and what it means to live with unpredictable pain.
Second, we feel more hopeful and inspired in our own life. Knowing that a celebrity is facing the same day-to-day struggles we do, all while under the glare of stardom, we are more endeared toward them. We especially feel a connection when they use their voice to bring visibility to chronic pain.
Finally, we feel empowered by the will of celebrities to step forward and take control of the narrative about their condition under intense media scrutiny. When they show the world what it means to live with chronic pain, they offer a roadmap and inspire confidence for how we might do the same.
Whether famous or not, the public acknowledgment of one’s condition is a brave act in the face of the stigma of chronic pain. As chronic pain awareness spreads, acceptance soon follows.
Is there a notable person who has inspired you? How do you feel about celebrities discussing their condition? Share in the comments below or post on MyChronicPainTeam.