When artist Karolyn Gehrig is undergoing treatment for her chronic illness, she doesn’t want to feel invisible. So she posts glamorous selfies of herself undergoing medical treatments — and looking fabulous — using the hashtag #HospitalGlam.
Gehrig was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), an inherited disorder that affects the body’s connective tissues, in 2003. Since then she has undergone constant treatments and struggled with the stigma of having an invisible illness.
“I started posting #hospitalglam because it was frustrating to me that every time I got sicker I’d disappear from my commitments and then feel shy about explaining where I’d been when I knew there was absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing treatment for my disabling chronic illnesses,” Gehrig told The Huffington Post.
Gehrig’s images show what her day-to-day life of chronic illness is like, conveying strength in the face of her treatments.
“I began using some conventions of fashion photography to strip away ambiguity about my viewpoint and make it clear that I retain every part of myself through this battle,” Gehrig told HuffPost. “I’m very excited to see how we can move forward and work on destigmatizing illness en masse.”
Gehrig hopes that the hashtag will become a social movement, inspiring other people with chronic illnesses to share their experiences in treatment.
“I want everyone who goes into a doctor’s office to feel empowered, and that they can be themselves,” she told BuzzFeed Life. “There’s nothing about being disabled that I should be ashamed of. Taking care of yourself is really important.”
See more amazing #HospitalGlam images below.