Julie Reid doesn’t recognize her face in the mirror.
“It’s torture living like this, torture,” Reid said.
The 28-year-old Clearwater, Fla., transplant suffers from Cholinergic Urticaria, a rare hypersensitive skin condition that causes her to break out in hives all over her body because she is allergic to her own sweat and tears.
The hives can last anywhere from an hour to several days. It is a condition that came on suddenly two years ago.
“It itches like crazy, I scratch my skin open,” Reid said.
Her condition came on without warning. Now Reid, who made a living as a gymnastics and dance instructor, can now longer follow her passion.
Being outside is not possible either. The Florida heat and sun are just too much for her.
“Any physical activity I do, I develop hives everywhere,” she said.
Reid told WFTS-TV she slipped into a deep depression and struggles to get out of bed.
Over the past three years, she has put on more than 100 pounds. She admits she’s turned to eating food to cope with her condition.
“I used to be so beautiful, now I look like a monster,” she added. Reid has not left her apartment during the daytime hours in the past three years. She claims she has developed agoraphobia and fears to leave the house and deal with public scrutiny.
“I just stay in bed and cry and cry,” she said.
Unable to work, she’s lost her health insurance. She says she’s also been denied disability.
“It’s destroyed my life. I have no, I have nothing, I have nothing, no friends, no furniture, no help, no family here,” she said.
She spends hours online searching for a cure, but her condition is not curable.
According to Reid, one doctor who previously treated her told her she could go into anaphylactic shock and requires an Epipen. She can’t get it because she cannot afford it.
Reid has no furniture in her apartment. She’s sold it all to try and make ends meet and to pay for doctor visits.
Fearful of her mental condition and emotional state, Reid reached out to her local TV station for help. She is hoping someone out there will see her story and help her.