Erin Napier Disease: Her Health Problems in the Past Have Left Her With “Panic Attacks and Spiraling Thoughts”

The Home Town actress, who has been fighting an unidentified disease for ten years, has claimed, “It created some deep ruts in my neural circuits that have left me with an enormous fear and fixation with sickness.”

Erin Napier is speaking frankly about mental health difficulties she still deals with over a decade after her years-long battle with a mystery illness.

On Wednesday evening, the HGTV star, 36, spoke candidly about her health in an Instagram post. “This time of year, I feel the anniversary of illness so keenly. With the caption, “These hospital photos were taken in 2014, at the end of my 10-year illness from (unknowingly) a perforated appendix,” the Home Town star shared two photos from her time in the hospital with her family as well as a two-page excerpt from the book she and her husband/co-star Ben Napier wrote many years ago. “I wrote about that decade in our book, Make Something Good Today, and for a long time felt I had put that all to rest with that final surgery.”

The Home Town actress said, “I’ve been learning through conversation with my friend who is a therapist that it left some deep ruts in my neuro-pathways that have left me with an extreme fear and preoccupation with sickness, nausea in particular, ever since.” Her appendix had been removed and the physical suffering had ended eight years earlier.

Erin Napier Disease

Without my knowledge or consent, my brain initiates a “fight or flight” response designed to protect my life, even though there is no immediate danger. Panic attacks and spinning ideas come pouring in,” she added.

Because of the COVID-19 epidemic, Erin said, she is “relieved” to “have connected all these links in recent months.” She spoke on the motivations for the post and how she hoped that being open about her struggles with her health would be an inspiration to others.

“I don’t want you to tell anyone this, but there’s something you don’t know about me. Even while you may see positive updates and postings from me, she reassured everyone that “it’s not terrible or good, it’s just part of my crazy brain and I’m working to untangle it every day.”

That’s everybody though, right? Everyone here is going through something unique. But isn’t it great to have this space to snip the rough edges? That was it, Erin said. A light in the darkness might be as simple as seeing your loved ones gathered around your hospital bed.

Many of Erin’s admirers expressed their admiration for her candor and expressed their affection for her in the comments area.

That’s helpful of you to reveal. “We’re all cracked a little bit, and that’s how the light gets in,” one commenter put it. In response, another user said, “Thank you for sharing the challenging as well as the simple.” We could all use a dose of this realism. Many positive wishes for your continued healing from trauma.

I adore you @erinapier and THIS DOES Assist TO KNOW and I believe we are lucky to have a window into you that will also help others!!!!!!!!!!!” Drew Barrymore also commented on Erin’s article. I appreciate you telling me that. Please put your trust in us, too. You’re so popular, everyone adores you.

Erin discussed her history of illness in a 2018 memoir she wrote with her husband and in an interview with PEOPLE. Erin had previously told PEOPLE, “It was a sad, terrifying, and confusing ten years.”

When Erin was 19 years old, she first experienced health problems. She described them as “24 hours of awful stomach ache and a low-grade temperature, and then it would disappear.”

Her 2008 marriage to Ben, then age 38, only made the seizures worse, she said. “Two days turned into three,” he said. Erin would remain bedridden for a week at a time, in excruciating agony and unable to pinpoint the source of her suffering.

Erin had an emergency exploratory surgery at the recommendation of her OBGYN after “going through everything,” as Ben put it, “from doctors thinking it might be something really bad like cancer to saying it was in Erin’s head.” During the procedure, it was discovered that all of Erin’s organs were bound together, fused by a tissue that covered everything. She was referred to a different surgeon after the unexpected result.

The reason for the highly rare disease was identified during a second procedure: a perforated appendix. For years, the organ has been continuously bursting and then recovering. “When it happened to me for the first time when I was 19 years old, it just partially ruptured. Erin commented in 2018 that she had “not enough to kill me, just enough to make me sick.” Due to the natural healing process, the organ had become wrapped in scar tissue, which had spread “like cancer” to her other internal organs.

She had her appendix taken out, and thankfully it took care of the physical problem (though not the mental wounds).

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