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Lena Dunham spoke out Wednesday over the "gnarly" comments she received from critics about her body, days after sharing photos from her recent wedding to Luis Felber.
In a post shared on Instagram, the Girls alum wrote a message dedicated to anyone who may be struggling with body image, as well as to those who may bully others over their size. "I say this because over the years, I've shared many challenges with you and these moments of joy had me thinking that we should admit when we're happy too — it's not a crime," wrote Dunham on Instagram.
The 35-year-old actress continued, "But all of this safety made me forget, for a moment, why I've created such intense boundaries with the internet over the past few years. It's a little too easy to feel the glow of support and forget about the cesspool lurking behind it — so I took a peek, and saw some gnarly s—t, most not worth responding to or even sharing with you. But one narrative I take issue with, largely because it's a story I don't want other women, other people, to get lodged in their heads is that I should somehow be ashamed because my body has changed since I was last on television." (Related: Lena Dunham Says She Feels So Much Healthier After Her 24-Pound Weight Gain)
Dunham said that she was targeted with insults about her weight, including comparisons about her body with those of her Girls co-stars (the HBO series also featured Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet, and Jemima Kirke). Dunham also explained that at the time when the show aired, which was from 2012 to 2017, she wasn't in a healthy place. "When will we learn to stop equating thinness with health/happiness? Of course weight loss can be the result of positive change in habits, but guess what? So can weight gain," wrote Dunham on Instagram. "The pics I'm being compared to are from when I was in active addiction with undiagnosed illness." (Related: Why Body-Shaming Is Such a Big Problem — and What You Can Do to Stop It)
Dunham previously revealed that she was addicted to her anti-anxiety medication, Klonopin, and was taking it more than medically necessary. In October 2018, the actress said she was six months sober from the prescription drug. For background, Klonopin is the brand name of clonazepam, a form of benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are a type of prescription sedative that is often prescribed for anxiety or to help with insomnia, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
In an October 2018 interview on Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast, Dunham said, "If I look back, there were a solid three years where I was, to put it lightly, misusing benzos, even though it was all quote unquote doctor prescribed."
"It stopped being 'I take one when I fly,' to 'I take one when I'm awake,'" continued Dunham in the interview, according to People. "I didn't have any trouble getting a doctor to tell me, 'No you have serious anxiety issues, you should be taking this. This is how you should be existing.'"
As for her undiagnosed illness, Dunham revealed in November 2019 that she was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which is a rare connective tissue disorder that causes extra-elastic skin and overly flexible joints, though symptoms can vary drastically between patients. Since then, Dunham, who also battled COVID-19 in March 2020, has put her focus on taking care of her health, and not worrying about her size. In fact, she says she's happier and healthier than she's ever been. (Related: Lena Dunham Believes the Body-Positive Movement Has Its Shortcomings)
"In the 4 years since, I've gotten sober and begun my life as someone who aspires toward health and not just achievement," shared Dunham on Instagram. "These changes have allowed me to be the kind of sister/friend/daughter that I want to be and yes- meet my husband (who, by the way, doesn't recognize me in those old photos because he sees how dimmed my light was.)"
"I say this for any other person whose appearance has been changed with time, illness or circumstance-it's okay to live in your present body without treating it as transitional," she concluded. "I am, and I'm really enjoying it. Love you all."