But, in just one year, the twenty-year-old has managed to turn her pain into inspiration. Paula has since begun sharing her experience of living with a chronic illness on social media and has amassed over two hundred and ten thousand followers on TikTok because of it.
Primarily, her transparency and positivity are helping redefine what it is like living with Crohn’s disease. After all, Paula is a living example that the condition can affect anyone– and she is specifically helping young girls see the beauty in their baggage.
First, Paula loves fashion and shows young women with Crohn’s how to do everything from dress their ostomy bags to bedazzle them. And for those who prefer to keep their ostomy bags more hidden or secure, Paula also discusses the kinds of wardrobe options she covets as stables.
Aside from normalizing ostomy bags in fashion, though, Paula also keeps her TikTok account honest.
She shares realistic “day in my life” videos that show the not-so-glamorous sides of living with a chronic illness– such as going to doctor’s appointments and even shedding a couple of tears in the privacy of her home. Plus, Paula opens up about what it is like to date with a chronic illness and how she has cultivated her mental health.
But interestingly, Paula never imagined that her social media presence would balloon to have such an impact.
Back when she was first diagnosed with Crohn’s, it was actually Paula’s mother who encouraged her to make a “silly little TikTok.”
Just that one video, though, quickly gained over twenty thousand views. In the process, Paula also received an influx of comments from people around the globe who had Crohn’s disease and wanted to share their experiences with her.
So, at that moment, Paula had an epiphany: perhaps that was her opportunity to change the way Crohn’s was perceived by the public and work to make sure that no one ever felt alone like she had.
And now, it is safe to say that Paula has achieved her goal. On every single TikTok she posts, countless followers feel comfortable enough to ask Paula specific questions about her Crohn’s journey and share their own experiences, too.
So, in a way, Paula’s account has transformed into a forum for those with chronic illnesses to connect and tear down stigmas together. And for Paula, seeing this community blossom before her eyes has helped her own mental health immensely, too.