Imagine Dragons Frontman Dan Reynolds Wants to Show What Life With Chronic Illness Really ‘Looks’ Like
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Social media lets us filter not only our photos but our lives. While it’s always nice to highlight the good, the pressure to present everything as “perfect,” can hurt those living with chronic illnesses. That’s why Dan Reynolds, lead singer of the band Imagine Dragons who lives with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), wants people to ditch the filters and show what it’s really like to live with a chronic condition.
In an interview with People, Reynolds encouraged others living with chronic illness to post their reality, noting that it could help others open up about their pain and get a diagnosis.
“I think we live in the age of Instagram, where everybody’s putting up their best moments and taking pictures in the best light with the best filter,” he told the magazine, adding:
But what I think is really important is to talk about our insecurities and our pain, the things that are hard. It helps other people feel less alone. Everyone is struggling with something. If we’re all putting out a false narrative of perfection, the world seems a lot more lonely.
Reynolds’ pain began back in 2008 before the band became famous. It wasn’t until his brother was diagnosed with AS, a type of arthritis that affects the spine, that Reynolds realized that he might have the same condition.
“There was a full year where I was just in pain and going to doctor after doctor, and at the same time trying to put on shows and move around the stage,” the singer said.
After multiple doctors, he finally found a rheumatologist who was able to determine the cause of his pain. After that, Reynolds was able to manage his AS to the point where he only has occasional pain.
Reynolds opened up on Instagram last year and shared with his fans about his health. He says that being able to be open on social media about his health and pain has helped him cope with it. He told People:
It’s important to speak out about thing that are hard, and that can actually bring more happiness and joy to your life. And you find a community in it. I’ve had a lot of people reach out and say that they’ve been struggling with AS for years and finally got diagnosed. It hasn’t defeated me and I’ve been able to meet a lot of people and make strong bonds.
While it might be difficult to be open about your chronic illness, discussing what’s really going on in your life can benefit you as well as others. If you are still trying to understand your illness or get a diagnosis, please know that it’s OK to feel frustrated and share that frustration with others.