Grey’s Anatomy's Abigail Spencer Reflects on "Hardest Year" That "Almost Killed" Her

Grey's Anatomy star Abigail Spencer celebrated her 41st birthday by sharing that she was "so proud of myself" after surviving the "fight of my life" last year. Read her powerful words below.

By Emlyn Travis Aug 05, 2022 4:18 PMTags
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Abigail Spencer knows that being open and honest about mental health is the best medicine.  

On Aug. 4, the Grey's Anatomy star celebrated her 41st birthday by penning a poignant open letter which detailed the debilitating physical and emotional grief she experienced over the last year.

"August 4th 2021, I moved into the hardest year of my life," she wrote on Instagram. "It almost killed me, and if I hadn't been in training for my mind, body & spirit for & surrounded myself with the most incredible community of friends & healers, I do not believe I would have survived it. I'm not going to get into the details of the events that brought about what I'm about to share, but I'll tell you some of the emotional headlines of its effects." 

The actress shared that she struggled with multiple mental ailments at the time. 

"Stress almost took me out," she continued. "I literally felt like my insides were being eaten by stress. I couldn't get up off the floor some days. Fear & loss had gripped me. Anxiety would arrest me. In the fight of my life." 

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The pain manifested into physical symptoms too.  

"I cried so hard on multiple occasions that it led me to vomiting," she explained. "I spent hours some days trembling while holding myself through the incessant distress. I didn't leave the house for days. I couldn't catch a breathe [sic]. Everything felt so hard. At one point I thought I was having a heart attack. I talked to a cardiologist & he said I wasn't having a heart attack, that my heart was so broken & I needed to be held." 

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However, Abigail noted, that "over time & throwing myself into my healing community, the energy moved" and she was finally able to see the light again.  

"I scheduled my grief & physical care like it was my effing job. Because it was," Abigail explained. "And then…more light came in. And every day something or someone would come along to be a warm glow. I started to get my sense of humor back. I remembered that laughing was an option." 

The Suits star also revealed why she felt ready to tell her story now. 

"I share all this because the ‘pretty & dreamy' ‘living your best life pictures' you see here don't tell the full story," Abigail shared. "They were earned. And if you saw the gal from August 2021 to March 2022 you could never have imagined me here. I didn't. And I'm so proud of myself. For not giving up." 

Now, looking ahead, Abigail is ready to turn over a new leaf and dive back into her passions.  

"My wish for this new birth year is to bring laughter, joy, fun, silly, flowers, dance, abundance, love, ease, magic, presence, seen-ness, being-ness, puns and peace into the world," she wrote. "Leave every one & every thing a little better than found." 

She added, "If you are in utter despair. Keep going, you are not alone. It won't be this way forever. I promise you. You are in the middle of your story. Stay open to magic." 

Following her post, Abigail's close friends and fans took to the comment section to give her a bit of love on her special day. 

Mindy Kaling wrote, "You're the best. Thank you for sharing this," while Olivia Munn added, "HBD love you sm." 

If you or someone you know needs help, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the network, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit for additional resources.