Ally Hilfiger spoke out in a new interview about her heartbreaking ordeal with Lyme disease, and the painful process that she went through for years just to get a proper diagnosis. The author of ‘Bite Me’ revealed that the disease even landed her in a psychiatric hospital! Click through to read more about her courageous fight.
Designer Ally Hilfiger, 31, revealed on TODAY on May 9 that she spent time in a psychiatric hospital prior to being diagnosed with Lyme Disease at 19! She had unknowingly been suffering from the illness since the age of seven! Ally, who writes about her medical ordeal in her new book Bite Me: How Lyme Disease Stole My Childhood, Made Me Crazy, and Almost Killed Me, was taken to the hospital by her concerned father, designer Tommy Hilfiger. Click through for the details from her interview!
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Lyme Disease, which affects 329,000 Americans, is a bacterial infection that causes joint pain and stiffness, swelling, extreme fatigue, rashes, headache, and even psychological issues if it infects the brain. Ally told TODAY that after her hit reality show Rich Girls ended in the early 2000s, her emotions started getting out of control. It was Lyme Disease. “I had a nervous breakdown after the reality show,” Ally said. “I just shut down and kind of went out of my body and out of my mind. And it was really scary.”
That definitely sounds scary! Her dad, Tommy, was the person who decided she needed serious help and had her admitted to a psychiatric facility: “She wasn’t herself. She was acing psychotic, she was acting like a crazy person. Her mother couldn’t reason with her, I couldn’t reason with her. She was mumbling to herself.” Poor Ally!
Ally sat down with Katie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb during TODAY‘s fourth hour to discuss her Lyme disease experience. Ally first got ill when she was just seven years-old, but despite years of pain, illness and frustration, she didn’t get a formal diagnosis of Lyme disease until she was 19! Her illness started with joint and muscle pain as a child, but also had psychological effects, like rendering her unable to read or remember things at times — and it eventually led to that nervous breakdown.
Now at 31 and in good health, Ally is thrilled to have put the disease behind her, but “the merry-go-round” of treatments and returning symptoms plagued her for years after the diagnosis. “I thought, ‘I can’t believe I lived through that nightmare.’ And it was; it was a nightmare,” Ally said. When asked what she’d tell a little girl who was suffering from Lyme, Ally gave this touching response, her eyes filling with tears: “I would hug her and say ‘it’s okay honey, you’re going to be just fine. You’re stronger than this.’ I really wish someone had said that to me.”
HollywoodLifers, are you going to read Ally’s book? Tell us in the comments!