Hearing other people’s stories and experiences can help you feel a lot more normal and understood when you have a chronic illness. Whether it’s an autoimmune disease or any condition that comes with chronic pain, there is a vibrant community waiting for you on Instagram. Here are some accounts you should follow.
Britt Johnson — An Innovator With a Rare Autoimmune Disease
Whether it's her battle with Behcet’s, a rare autoimmune disease, or her quest to one-day climb Denali (the highest mountain in North America), Britt is an original and an innovator. She’s the founder of the #chroniclife movement and tells her story with raw honesty and humor.
Julie Croner — One Day at a Time With Psoriatic Arthritis
Julie focuses wholeheartedly on the “life” part of her life with psoriatic arthritis. At the same time, she finds a way to weave in moving and perceptive stories to build awareness of autoimmune arthritis. And she's a mom, too. Her posts are glimpses into a life of challenges, strength, and some great memes.
Caleigh Sarah Haber — Living Through a Double Lung Transplant for Cystic Fibrosis
Exploring the wider world of chronic illness can help you find motivation and inspiration. One of the best is Caleigh, who lives with cystic fibrosis. Her account tells the unvarnished truth of the challenges of living with this condition, including a second double-lung transplant, and the fierce joy she finds in big and small moments.
Jenni Grover — Crafting an Incredible Life
Chronic Babe has a mission: to help others to cope and create a wonderful life with chronic illness. Her videos and book are creative, colorful, and heartfelt. In her trademark AWAP — As Well As Possible — Wednesdays, she shares thoughts and tips on how to be and do as well as you can with chronic illness, and enjoy life as much as you can, too.
Kirsten Schultz — Sex and Chronic Illness
Chronic illness (and guilt over it) affects your sex life, and while many medical professionals shy away from the topic, Kirsten Schultz does not. Kirsten is a font of honest, realistic, and compassionate information and tips on how to make sure that this important part of your life continues to flourish.
Molly Schreiber — Balancing Multiple Chronic Conditions
Many people have more than one chronic illness. Molly’s account tells the story of what it’s like to live with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), diabetes, and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). She takes you along on her advocacy efforts, and shares the reality of the very complex hoops we have to jump through to balance our conditions.
Simon and Martina — Chronic Pain and Depression
This is the account of a Canadian couple living in Asia (first South Korea, now Japan). Martina has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), and shares the challenges of living with chronic pain and the depression often resulting from it. Her inspirational efforts to #buildaladder to fight back will help motivate you to find big and small moments that can help you create a better life. Their videos are sometimes about chronic illness, but more often about the adventure of pursuing your dreams.
Mamas Facing Forward — Motherhood and RA
Historically, there was very little information about being a parent — especially a mother — with RA. Maria Z. Leach created Mamas Forward on Facebook and is now running a site of the same name offering resources and support for anyone who wishes to be a parent or needs tips for how to be a parent with RA.
Aimee — RA and Athletes
Effective medications allow more people with RA to exercise than ever before, often vigorously. Amy is the founder of #StrongerThanRA and shares her fitness endeavors on Instagram, as well as the struggles of being an athlete with RA. She is also a new mother and gives us a window into what that is like.
Anna Evangeline — Lifelong Arthritis Won't Stop This Future Triathlete
Imagine living with systemic juvenile arthritis, a condition that has left you with pericarditis (inflammation in the sac surrounding the heart), and — count ‘em — six hip replacements. That’s Anna, and her account shares the stories of what it’s like to go through every day with the challenges of an almost lifelong chronic illness (since age 11), as well as her advocacy efforts, and her fierce determination to continue being an athlete. This year, she is training for a triathlon!
BeingCharis — Faith With Ankylosing Spondylitis
Charis is dedicated to advocacy and fighting for the rights of people who live with chronic illness and disability. She has ankylosing spondylitis, a type of autoimmune arthritis, but lives life fiercely, writing about faith, struggle, inequality, cats, and more with a beautiful passion and energy.
Karolyn Gehrig — Style Even in a Hospital Gown
Karolyn Gehrig lets us in on her medical appointments for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome via selfies and is the founder of #hospitalglam. Using fashion imagery, she means for these photos to help us reclaim our identity within an environment that’s often alienating, in order for us to be better able to advocate for ourselves and our rights.