Lena Dunham opens up about 'the hardest part of chronic illness'

Lena Dunham is getting candid about the "hardest part of chronic illness," sharing that she finds it difficult to "shift gears" when it comes to making plans and canceling them when she's not feeling her best.

The 35-year-old has been open about her struggles with endometriosis, fibromyalgia and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome — writing in previous Instagram posts about how a flare-up can cause so much pain that she relies on a cane for additional walking support. In a series of photos posted on Thursday, Dunham said that the pain itself isn't the worst part.

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"Sometimes, more than I'd like tbh, I have to change it up at the last minute because my body isn't participating. And because I leave it all on the dance floor for my job, the plans that tend to go are the social ones," she wrote.

The actress, filmmaker and writer attributed "workaholism" to her tendency to push through pain to get work done while canceling on social gatherings. She cited a party that she missed a few weeks ago, saying the preparation that leads to an event can result in a lot of disappointment once she decides she can't make it.

"I had a plan to join my beloved @christopherkane at a party- he made me this dress (what!?) and I even got a fresh new haircut before I realized I didn't have what it took," she wrote. "So now, two weeks later and with few non-dog witnesses, I am showing off the dress (backwards I think? Sorry, CK, it's still just amazing) and the hair to remind myself that it's okay to shift gears."

While Dunham has had to adapt to a certain lack of control when it comes to her illnesses and the way that her body responds, she's also found solace in the fact that more people have had to do the same after living through the pandemic.

"Even those with reliable bodies can't control outcomes," she wrote. "But the term 'loss of control?' Well, you can’t lose what you never had. And I need this reminder. It helps with any shame I may carry about my physical challenges, my shortcomings as a friend or daughter or disco ball."

Dunham shared the photos of her in the custom dress with her fresh haircut as what she calls a "better late than never" party. "Just a gorgeous night in, exactly like I planned it..." she wrote.

Luckily, her followers were supportive.

"You look glorious! And I recognise this feeling so well from my own life." one person wrote.

"Truer words were never spoken. Thank you," commented another.

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