Yolanda Hadid nearly hit literal rock bottom. In 2014 — two years after she was diagnosed with neurological Lyme disease — the former model was in Florida with then-husband David Foster when she let her body slip into the ocean. As she sank, she writes in her new book, Believe Me: My Battle With the Invisibility of Lyme Disease, she thought, “God please just take me away in a wave.” It was the darkest moment in a five-year battle that included joint pain, anxiety and such drastic fatigue that she spent 22 hours a day in bed.
“I just was hopeless and didn’t see how I was going to get out of the dark hole,” the former Bravo star, 53, recalls to Us. “I wanted to die, but the next second, I looked at a picture of my sweet kids. They are my reason for fighting.” And with her children, Bella Hadid, 20, and Anwar Hadid, 18, suffering the same affliction, she’s determined to emerge a victor. “My greatest gift would be if I can find the cure before I leave this planet,” says the Dutch beauty, also mom to Gigi Hadid, 22, “so they can live a life they deserve.”
For Yolanda, the first step in her recovery was allowing herself to adapt to her struggles. “You know, you just have to surrender,” she tells Us. “I just had to surrender, like the first year, I fought it every day and I would be miserable about being miserable. At some point you just learn to surrender to your path. This obviously was my path for five years and the healing clock is, you know, the universe’s time and not on my time.”
The television personality adds: “So it was a big lesson in learning to be patient and learning to be disciplined. I just found this inner strength that I never knew I had and the will to live and that stuck me through it.”
Struggling through the disease has given Yolanda the tools to help Bella and Anwar get through it with slightly more ease. “I know the treatments, I know what they need and I can support them because I get what they’re feeling,” she tells Us. “That’s really the bottom line of fighting a disease like this is you don’t get it until you get it, so you know, thankfully I’ve been through the journey and I can hopefully prevent them for ever getting as sick as I was.”
For more from Yolanda, pick up the new issue of Us Weekly on stands Wednesday, September 13.
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