She was hiding an invisible illness. When she revealed it, it changed everything.

From an outsider's perspective, Bethany Schrock's life looked pretty perfect.

Like many other photographers, she uses social media as her primary marketing tool, and thus fastidiously curates her work and image for these visual platforms.

Photo via Upworthy.


However, on the inside, Bethany was dealing with a lot of pain.

She had a brain tumor that was sitting on her spinal chord and optic nerve. It caused her to have seizures and even affected her ability to move the left side of her body. So while she appeared fine to most people, her invisible illness was taking an enormous toll on her.

If she didn't have surgery to remove the tumor soon, her doctors told her things would only get worse.

“If I didn’t get the surgery I would lose vision and a lot of other scary things," she says.

So Bethany went through intensive surgery to have her tumor removed, and suddenly her illness was no longer invisible.

Photo via Bethany Schrock.

However, while the experience was certainly difficult, she wasn't upset about people getting to see her pain. In fact, she embraced it.

“Having a scar was almost kind of like a badge of, ‘hey I’ve been through stuff. I am sick,'" explains Bethany.

So she started posting close up, bold photos of her scar on her social media platforms for all to see. Bethany wanted to be transparent with her audience and finally show them that beauty doesn't have to mean looking "perfect." Along with the photos, she wrote open and honest messages about health and being sick.

Photo via Bethany Schrock.

Nothing could have prepared her for the responses she received in return.

“I was overwhelmed by the amount of people who were saying, ‘hey, me too.'"

What's more, as Bethany began to recover and get back to her life, she noticed that small things, like putting on Maybelline mascara and brow gel, helped her truly embrace who she is now.

"It was the first time I finally felt like, okay, it can get better."

The whole experience inspired her to start a photography project where she photographs people who are also living with invisible illnesses.

But she doesn't just take and post their pictures — she distresses them in a way that shows the world what they're dealing inside. So for example, when Bethany photographed a woman with nerve pain, she burned parts of the photo to show what that pain might look like.

Photo via Upworthy.

“I really think pain is the number one thing that connects people," says Bethany.

Everyone deals with pain in some form or another throughout their life, but that doesn't mean they're any less beautiful for it. In fact, Bethany believes that living with pain can make you even more beautiful.

"It’s like, you’ve been through stuff," she says. "I think the people who are able to admit that are really beautiful."

Learn more about Bethany's story and work the video below:

lop
Family
True
Maybelline New York Beauty & Beyond
Amy Johnson

The first day of school can be both exciting and scary at the same time — especially if it's your first day ever, as was the case for a nervous four-year-old in Wisconsin. But with a little help from a kind bus driver, he was able to get over his fear.

Axel was "super excited" waiting for the bus in Augusta with his mom, Amy Johnson, until it came time to actually get on.

"He was all smiles when he saw me around the corner and I started to slow down and that's when you could see his face start to change," his bus driver, Isabel "Izzy" Lane, told WEAU.

The scared boy wouldn't get on the bus without help from his mom, so she picked him up and carried him aboard, trying to give him a pep talk.

"He started to cling to me and I told him, 'Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun!'" Johnson told Fox 7.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared
via Hollie Bellew-Shaw / Facebook

For those of us who are not on the spectrum, it can be hard to perceive the world through the senses of someone with autism.

"You could think of a person with autism as having an imbalanced set of senses," Stephen Shore, assistant professor in the School of Education at Adelphi University, told Web MD.

"Some senses may be turned up too high and some turned down too low. As a result, the data that comes in tends to be distorted, and it's very hard to perceive a person's environment accurately," Shore continued.

Keep Reading Show less
Education & Information

A new Harriet Tubman statue sculpted by Emmy and Academy award-winner Wesley Wofford has been revealed, and its symbolism is moving to say the least.

Harriet Tubman was the best known "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, a network of safe houses that helped thousands of enslaved black Americans make their way to freedom in the north in the early-to-mid 1800s. Tubman herself escaped slavery in 1849, then kept returning to the Underground Railroad, risking her life to help lead others to freedom. She worked as a spy for the Union Army during the Civil War, and after the war dedicated her life to helping formerly enslaved people try to escape poverty.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture