"This is what life is like when I'm struggling most with chronic illness," the actress explained in the caption.
Lena Dunham has revealed she suffers from a chronic illness: Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Over the weekend, the "Girls" star shared a paparazzi photo on Instagram (above) and announced she's living with the illness. Ehler-Danlos is a rare condition that can cause joint pain and other problems.
"I could choose to be embarrassed by these paparazzi pics -- I mean, that's probably the point of someone publishing them in the first place -- but I'm really not," she captioned the photo, which featured her walking with a cane. "I could lie and say it was an early Halloween look (Don't you get it? I'm going as a con woman leaving a Florida Keys jail after being acquitted of murdering her husband, and now she's trying to get disability license plates.)"
"But the truth is just: This is what life is like when I'm struggling most with chronic illness," she continued. "An Ehler-Danlos syndrome flare means that I need support from more than just my friends... so thank you, sweet cane! For years, I resisted doing anything that would make my physical situation easier, insisting that a cane would 'make things weird.' But it's so much less weird to actually be able to participate than to stay in bed all day."
"And yes, you'd better believe I'm wearing my nightgown," she added. "I was walking four feet to the car to go to the doctor and I wanted to be full cozy."
Dunham pointed out that since Justin Bieber wore hotel slippers "for like five years," she could "wear my glamour nighty for two hours."
"And then an hour later, I'm in a meeting look tackling the job I love," she continued. "That's the two-fold life of a woman with chronic illness; we still rock our dreams and goals and passions (and fashions) and we live many lives in one day. Tell me about your day!"
So what exactly is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome?
According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, it's a group of 13 related disorders caused by different genetic defects in collagen, "one of the major structural components of the body." Collagen is described as a "tough, fibrous, protein, and serves as a building block essential in both strengthening connective tissue (e.g. bones) and providing flexibility where needed (e.g. cartilage)."