Dear Samantha Beach, please stop being so hard on yourself. What happened to you wasn’t your fault so it isn’t right that you should bear the burden for it and for getting well.

I can’t fix myself either but I can try and figure out how to cope. Over time, those coping strategies add up and make me stronger and less likely to collapse again. After five years completely incapacitated, this feels like a bizarre thing to say but I’ll tell you this: Writing this essay was immensely and unexpectedly liberating.

Neither you nor I can afford to get hung up on the things that aren’t available to us (like therapy etc…) otherwise we’re letting our life pass us by, paralyzed by lack. Having my best friend die and seeing my stepmom fighting death certainly shifted my mindset. What’s important is to live, whatever your circumstances. So that’s what I try and do in my own little way.

I wish you greater ease and much, much strength. xo

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