Breast implant illness (BII) refers to a collection of negative physical and mental symptoms following breast augmentations.
Patrick, who has been vocal about her battle with BII, says she originally got implants hoping that they would make her feel more confident in her appearance.
"[I thought] it would pull my whole look together and make me feel more feminine and sexy," she said.
The former NASCAR racer first began experiencing symptoms of BII in 2018 and finally had the implants removed in April 2022.
She tells People she was initially unsure what caused her sudden onslaught of symptoms.
"I thought maybe my hormones were off, so I just said, 'Dig deeper, Danica, try harder,'" she said.
Patrick's symptoms continued to manifest physically and she says she became particularly insecure after her implants began to harden.
"For so many years I didn't hug people tight because I didn't feel like pushing these little balloons into them," she said, adding that the implants negatively affected her intimate life, as well.
"Whenever I was with a guy, I could not stop thinking that they knew they were fake," she said.
Patrick is now a vocal supporter of self-advocacy, warning women to "trust your intuition" in the event that anything feels wrong after getting breast implants.
"Get them removed, and see how you feel," she said.
Nearly six months later, Patrick says she is still not at 100% but feels much better overall.
"On a scale of one to 10, I'm probably a six right now. But I take better care of myself now than I ever have," she said.
Now, sans implants, Patrick is focused on generating self-love and encouraging others to do the same.
"Chasing perfection is a dead-end street. Learning how to come home to yourself is a beautiful thing," she said.
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