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Ryan Sutter says he's grateful for family and friends amid struggle with mystery illness

The 46-year-old firefighter and former reality TV star is talking about his challenging 2020.
Ryan Sutter and Trista Sutter attend WE tv Celebrates The 100th Episode Of The "Marriage Boot Camp" Reality Stars Franchise And The Premiere Of "Marriage Boot Camp Family Edition" at SkyBar at the Mondrian Los Angeles on October 10, 2019 in West Hollywood
Ryan Sutter and Trista Sutter at the premiere of "Marriage Boot Camp Family Edition" on Oct. 10, 2019 in West Hollywood, California.Presley Ann / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

In an emotional post on Instagram, former "Bachelorette" star Ryan Sutter is opening up about the impact of a mysterious health battle he has been experiencing this year.

"I’ve learned a lot about resiliency this year," the 46-year-old firefighter and former reality TV star wrote in the caption. "I’d imagine we all have? For years I followed the ideal laid out by Gandhi that strength was measured by an indomitable will. I pushed myself to develop a mindset that would not give up, give in or give off any sign of weakness. I did this mostly on my own, choosing solitude as my practice ground."

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Earlier this month, Sutter's wife, Trista Sutter, asked fans and followers for prayers for him as he had been affected by an undiagnosed illness for months. "I know I should be thankful, but I don’t want to be fake," she wrote. "And, I’m struggling. This rock, my best friend, my hero, my struggling. Not everyday, and not to the point that he can’t work or cook or exercise or be with family, but enough. We’ve been struggling for months. Struggling to get answers."

Sutter listed his symptoms in a follow-up post, including fatigue, body and muscle aches, fevers, night sweats, itching, headaches, congestion, lightheadedness, nausea, and "just general all around not feeling good."

On Tuesday, Sutter, who is also a former NFL player, revealed he has had "breakdowns" as well but that "few ever saw them."

"Mostly I internalized difficulty and distracted myself from its presence through physical exertion," he shared. "It worked for me. I felt confident. I felt resilient. Until this year... Though I still believe there is tremendous value in a strong will and self-reliance, I realize now that sometimes those things are romantic excuses for stubbornness."

He continued to explain that what helped him was sharing his struggle with his loved ones, who ended up being there for him in more ways than one.

"Sometimes it is necessary to let others in, to ask for help and to accept it," he wrote. "For me, health concerns brought on this realization, eventually forcing me to expose what I considered to be weakness. Once exposed however, weakness became opportunity. I was no longer alone in my struggle."

One of the most interesting revelations in his post was the work his wife did to find a way to help her husband of 17 years.

"My wife went on a mission, developing a medical strategy and path towards hopeful answers while at the same time leaving daily reminder notes to keep my spirits up," he explained. "My family has rallied behind me, my friends have shown tremendous support and my colleagues a high degree of understanding and patience. For all of this I am grateful. My intent in sharing this is to make a single point... Resiliency is not a solo act."

Ryan Sutter and Trista Sutter
Trista Sutter and Ryan Sutter attend Jenna Morasca's 30th birthday party at Jimmy at The James Hotel on Feb. 12, 2011 in New York City.Getty Images

Sutter, who has two children with Trista, son Maxwell, 13, and daughter Blakesley, 11, added, "As difficult as it may be, soliciting the help of others is a critical step in moving forward through difficult times.

"I appreciate all the help I have received and know that through it I am a better, stronger, more knowledgeable and more resilient man," he said.

Sutter ended his post with the simple but powerful hashtags #thankyou and #life.