Brutal truth behind ‘embarrassed’ star’s selfie
I'M A Celebrity's Erin Barnett has opened up about her weight struggles, revealing she was "embarrassed" of her figure after suffering from several health conditions.
Barnett, 24, rose to fame on the first season of Love Island Australia in 2018 and is now an Instagram influencer.
The nurse appeared on this year's season of I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!, revealing on Instagram that she had lost eight kilos during her three weeks in the South African jungle.
Sharing a photo of herself now and at the end of 2019, Barnett said she had been reluctant to post the latter photo of herself because of how she looked.
Barnett has endometriosis and Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and spent most of last year "in and out of hospital".
As a result, the reality star said she was on "pain killers 24/7" and "eating the most unhealthiest foods you could imagine".
Barnett said she became "so insecure and unhappy" over how her body had changed after multiple surgeries.
"I became super anti-social because I was embarrassed that I went up 2-3 sizes in my clothes. How pathetic, right?" Barnett wrote.
"I didn't look at my body in the mirror for 3 months prior to South Africa."
But since returning from the jungle, Barnett's mindset has changed and she now vows to "not let my happiness depend on my weight".
"Looking back now, I feel so ashamed I ever felt this way about myself & my body," she posted.
"I felt disgusted in myself for trying to preach about loving your self & here I was … being a terrible role model for myself & others.
"I was literally fighting a battle I wouldn't win; physically or mentally."
'THEY THOUGHT I WAS PREGNANT AT 14'
Barnett was first diagnosed with endometriosis in her early teens, telling her I'm A Celebrity campmates it had been a "horrific" experience.
"I had a two kilo cyst, they thought I was pregnant at 14," she said.
"It was a blood cyst that popped inside of me. Having a cyst pop inside of you is the most horrific pain I've ever felt."
Barnett underwent five surgeries last year to treat the condition, with the last one in October removing her fallopian tubes and left ovary.
The reality star told 10 Daily she spent "over $20,000 on surgeries" last year and "lived on pain killers for six months" like a "drug addict".
After her third surgery, Barnett rushed back to hospital just days afterwards because a cyst had burst inside her, leaving her feeling like she was "being set on fire".
"The surgeon missed the cyst. They thought I was going crazy, they were saying it was just post-operative pain. I was screaming," she said.
In an Instagram post shared in September last year, Barnett encouraged people to be "more caring and understanding to women" who suffered from PCOS and endometriosis.
"I'm bed bound a lot of the time, I randomly have clots come out of me during the day. No warning - no nothing … My pain gets so bad. Any movement makes me feel like my ovaries are exploding," she wrote.
"I have burn marks on my pelvic area from constantly having heat packs on me, & the sensation of the burning is more comfortable than the pain inside me so I leave it.
I have blocked fallopian tubes, a weird thing with my eggs where I either don't produce any or the ones I have are "empty" & cause more cyst.
"My endometriosis is spread EVERYWHERE & is on EVERYTHING inside me."
View this post on Instagram
I want to keep my instagram as raw & honest with you all. Recently I had my 4th surgery THIS year because of big cysts growing inside my ovaries. This surgery was a little different though, once I came out I started to have a panic attack. I don’t know why? I just started panicking real bad & it took so long for the nurses & doctors to calm me down, even with all the medications. This caused me to hurt my stomach right after surgery. The air pain is in my shoulders & even breathing is painful because of that. I’m on all the strongest pain medication & I’m still crying out in pain because NOTHING helps. I was encouraged not to upload this photo to my “feed” as it “ruins” my instagram & some brands may not want to work with me? So that made me want to upload this even more. I’m not doing this for sympathy, I don’t need sympathy from anyone. I’m doing it because I want everyone to have a better understanding of PCOS & endometriosis. Just because you can’t see my insides & how bad I have PCOS & endometriosis doesn’t mean my pain can’t be validated. It’s so hard for people to understand just how painful PCOS & endometriosis is. I’m bed bound a lot of the time, I randomly have clots come out of me during the day. No warning - no nothing. My body is like “pssst, I have a present for you lel”. My pain gets so bad. Any movement makes me feel like my ovaries are exploding. I have burn marks on my pelvic area from constantly having heat packs on me, & the sensation of the burning is more comfortable than the pain inside me so I leave it. I have blocked Fallopian tubes, a weird thing with my eggs where I either don’t produce any or the ones I have are “empty” & cause more cyst. My endometriosis is spread EVERYWHERE & is on EVERYTHING inside me. So please, be more caring & understanding towards women going through a similar situation. I can still live my life, I’m doing okay, I’m hoping after this surgery I’m back to my normal self & achieving more goals. THIS WILL NOT STOP ME!💕 I just want to use my platform to share this. I’m just 1 of MANY women suffering from this. #endometriosis #endometriosisawareness #pcos #selfiebeforesurgery
But after her fifth and final surgery a month later, Barnett said she was finally "pain free".
"I'm feeling so good post op! Hardly any pain, just sleepy! I think I've just gained my life back? WOOHOO!! I feel so much better," she wrote on Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
YAY! 🎉 I’ve just woken up from surgery & I can gladly say they successfully removed my LEFT OVARY, they also took out some endometriosis! I’m literally pain free as I type this. As in, no crazy ovary pain...because it’s no longer in my body! *does happy dance* I thought I’d share this surgery with everyone because I know I have SO many women on here dealing with similar issues. As we all know, I’ve had countless surgeries for PCOS & endometriosis. I’ve been asking, begging & pleading for someone to take out my left ovary because of the pain & cyst it causes me on the daily. Sadly, as per usual; no one was listening to me! It’s my body let me do what I want with it! It is literally the most frustrating thing in the world being told what you can and cannot do with your body. I will be forever grateful I found Dr. Tom Manley in Melbourne. I truely think it was a miracle! He seen me immediately for a consultation & offered me different options for PCOS & endometriosis. We both agreed surgery would be the best option with many benefits. He listened to everything I said & let me take charge of my body again. He has the best bed side manner I’ve ever come across, along side the anaesthetist & nurses who operated on me this afternoon. I felt so safe! I can be very demanding & impatient after surgery because I hate that I lose some independence when recovering. They have just made everything go so smoothly and I don’t think I can ever thank them enough for this! If you are going through something similar or know of someone that is, please contact Dr Tom Manley ASAP. Ive provided you with his contact number below. I’ve been through so much shit with so many bad doctors & surgeons in the past, so I can safely & confidently say Dr Tom Manley is outstanding & I just wish I had found him sooner! 😍 Dr Tom Manley: 03 9873 6781 I’m feeling so good post op! Hardly any pain, just sleepy! I think I’ve just gained my life back? WOOHOO!! I feel so much better, wowwwwwwww YAAAAY!! #endometriosis #endometriosisawareness #pcos #happydays #abouttime #listentoyourbody
'HE ISN'T MY SUGAR DADDY'
The I'm A Celebrity campmate has also been open about her fertility, hitting back at the idea her inability to have children means she is "somehow broken".
Barnett appeared on Love Island Australia alongside then boyfriend Eden Dally.
However, the couple split acrimoniously just months later, with Dally now expecting a baby with Married At First Sight star Cyrell Paule.
When Dally and Paule first announced their pregnancy Barnett hit back at the couple after her ex said she had "something wrong with her ovaries" that prevented her from having children.
Barnett wrote on Instagram that IVF is "no longer an option" for her, and there were now many complicated reasons as to why she could not have children.
"Let me get this out there here and now: if a woman or a man say they can't have children, don't ask why, or worse, ask what's wrong," Barnett wrote on her Instagram story at the time.
"The implication that you're somehow broken is upsetting … Not everyone's life goal is to have a baby, and if someone is infertile, people questioning it really doesn't help. The questions can actually make us feel bad."
The Love Island star has been dating Melbourne father Mick Russell, 43, since late 2018 and last year was forced to defend the couple's 19-year age gap.
"Yes I am dating an older man. No he isn't my 'sugar daddy' … I have my own money, I don't need any man, at whatever age, giving me any gifts or their money," she wrote on Instagram.
Barnett also said her relationship with Mr Russell was a "blessing" as she wouldn't be "taking away a big life moment from him ever wanting kids".
"I am so lucky to be with a man who treats me with respect and makes me truly happy every single day," she wrote.
"It's also a blessing he has kids - as I can not have kids, ever, due to my medical issues."