248: What if an invisible disease blew up your life? by Wondery

248: What if an invisible disease blew up your life?

from This Is Actually Happening

by Wondery

Published: Tue Sep 27 2022

Show Notes

After surviving a chaotic and abusive upbringing, a woman develops an undiagnosable autoimmune disorder that threatens to take her vision and her livelihood, but when a friend brings a blow-up doll to play a practical joke one night, everything changes. 

Today’s episode featured Gina Hessburg. You can find out more about her and Rafael on Instagram @blowinguprafael or on her website, blowinguprafael.com. On the website, you can also buy Gina’s book, Blowing Up, featuring her journey with Rafael. Gina is offering listeners to This Is Actually Happening $10 off her book if you use the code HAPPENING. $5 of each sale goes towards organizations that provide patient support and research for treatments for people like Gina.


Content/Trigger Warnings:  domestic abuse, mention of suicide, medical trauma, explicit language


Producer: Whit Missildine, Andrew Waits


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Instagram: @actuallyhappening

Twitter: @TIAHPodcast

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Website: www.thisisactuallyhappening.com

Website for Andrew Waits: www.andrdewwaits.com


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Transcripts: Full transcripts of each episode are now available on the website, thisisactuallyhappening.com


Intro Music: "Illabye" – Tipper

Music Bed: “Cylinder Four/Five” – Chris Zabriskie



If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of trauma or mental illness, please refer to the following resources.


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 

National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-6264

National Sexual Assault Hotline (RAINN): 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Crisis Text Line: Within the US, text HOME to 741741

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