Lena Dunham Shares Meaning of Her New ‘Sick’ Neck Tattoo: ‘Thank You for Labeling Me’

Lena Dunham is going on the record about her health — by getting “sick” tattooed on her neck.

On Wednesday, April 3, the the 32-year-old Girls creator revealed a photo of her new tattoo on Instagram: the word “sick” spelled out in script made of rope on the back of her neck. “Sometimes the thing you’re most scared of being called is the best thing you can call yourself,” she wrote. “Thank you @havenstudiobk for labeling me… and to my sisters in this dizzying but starry slog- i am lasso’d to you!”

The Not That Kind of Girl author has spoken out extensively in the past about her health issues, including her painful decade-long battle with endometriosis. She wrote an essay in Vogue’s March 2018 issue explaining that she decided to undergo a total hysterectomy in an attempt to alleviate her pain and telling readers that the surgery to remove her uterus was her “ninth surgical procedure.”

Lena Dunham Gets Neck Tattoo of What She’s ‘Most Scared of Being Called’
Lena Dunham attends the “Veep” Season 7 premiere at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on March 26, 2019 in New York City. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

On Sunday, March 31, Dunham shared an Instagram photo of her stomach and revealed she’s now had 12 surgeries. “Anyone who knows me (or knows *of* me) equates me with 2 things: nudity and pelvic pain. I’ll take it if it lets me spread the good word,” she wrote on a post to celebrate the end of National Endometriosis Month and help raise awareness for the condition. “Now, I’m dating & connecting my scars from 12 surgeries as part of my endo sister @georgiewileman’s campaign #thisisendometriosis.”

On the nine-month anniversary of her hysterectomy, she shared on Instagram that she’d named her uterus Judy and gotten a tattoo on her rib cage that reads “RIP Judy.”

Lena Dunham Gets Neck Tattoo of What She’s ‘Most Scared of Being Called’
Courtesy Lena Dunham/Instagram

Many stars, including Julianne Hough, have been open about their struggles with the condition. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Women’s Health, endometriosis affects about 11 percent of women of reproductive age. The condition occurs when the “endometrium, the tissue that normally lines the uterus or womb … grows outside of your uterus and on other areas in your body where it doesn’t belong,” the office states on their website. The painful condition can also lead to fertility problems.

Dunham announced that she had her left ovary removed in October 2018. That same month she revealed she was six months sober after abusing the anti-anxiety medication Klonopin.

The Emmy winner has also been open about her weight, revealing that when she was celebrated for being thinner in 2017, she was at her unhealthiest. “Found this pic from summer 20017,” she wrote on Instagram on November 24, 2018. “I was very sick but fetishizing my own body.” Next to that was a current photo. “Here I am after [Thanksgiving] 2018. I am happy, proud & healing and so I should fetishize this body and offer her THANX.”

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