Lena Dunham Says She's Grappling With 'Self-Loathing' During COVID-19 Isolation

"I’ve been thinking a lot about my pot belly in quarantine," the "Girls" actor and director wrote Tuesday.

Lena Dunham said she’s grappling with familiar feelings of “self-loathing,” something she said is tied to a quarantine “to-do” list she feels the need to accomplish.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about my pot belly in quarantine- especially as I notice an unusual amount of articles with titles like ‘how I lost the weight’ and ‘diet is everything,’” the “Girls” actor and director wrote on Instagram Tuesday, alongside a photo of herself in a bikini, staring at the camera.

“Somehow, headlines that used to roll off my flesh rolls sting in a new way- not because I think that’s the body I’m meant to have,” Dunham explained, “but because it feels like it’s adding yet another item to the epic to-do list we are all creating for ourselves in Covid.”

While she ticked off various items from the mental quarantine activity list she’d created, the actor wrote that, “for most people pandemic life has not proven to be a break from the world or themselves.”

Lena Dunham in October 2019.
Lena Dunham in October 2019.
Vince Bucci via Getty Images

“And so the list grows, the items remain unchecked, and the suggestion of a revamped clean eating plan in my newsfeed somehow feels like a personal assault,” she said.

“Growing up chubby, fat, thicc, whatever you wanna call it- I always felt my body was a sign that read ‘I’m lazy and I have done less,’” Dunham explained. “Like if I just found the will to invest 30% more I could be okay.”

But while navigating her “career and illness and disability,” the entertainer said she found a way to appreciate her body.

However, “this pandemic time has brought back some of those old feelings of self-loathing and I think it all comes back to that damned to-do list, the one that started when we went into lockdown,” she said.

“And why, after all these years spent fostering self love, do I still feel like weight loss is an item for my to-do? When I could be adding ‘learn Spanish?’ or ‘fall in love with a firefighter?’” she quipped. “Like, what if I checked that one off *forever forever* (by doing it never never)?”

Dunham has always been candid about struggles with her health and body, sharing details of her endometriosis journey, her recovery from misusing pills for about three years, and her Ehlers-Danlos syndrome diagnosis last year.

In July, the Emmy-nominated actor revealed that her body “revolted” during a debilitating, month-long struggle with COVID-19.

“It started with achy joints,” Dunham wrote at the time, “then the pain was joined by a crushing fatigue. Then a fever of 102. Suddenly my body simply revolted.”

After battling severe symptoms, the writer said she tested negative for COVID-19 about a month after first testing positive, though she issued a warning to her followers about the long-term effects that persisted.

In sharing her story, Dunham urged people to take necessary precautions and follow coronavirus guidelines.

“When you take the appropriate measures to protect yourself and your neighbors,” she wrote, “you save them a world of pain.”

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