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To Selena Gomez, From Someone Who Also Struggles With Their Body and Mind

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Dear Selena Gomez,

My name is Mariana Solarte. I’m a 24-year-old Colombian woman and psychologist. I currently work with people who have cognitive disabilities.

When I woke up this morning, I saw you were a trending topic on Twitter. When I looked it up, I saw you were taken to a mental health treatment facility. Immediately I felt like I wanted to hug you, even though I’ve never met you and probably never will.

I get where you come from. I too live with a chronic condition. I have rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and, additionally, I have chronic major depression, anxiety and panic attacks. My daily life isn’t easy, and I suppose yours isn’t either. I have to take a lot of medications and I’m constantly going around the city from doctor to doctor. My most sacred space might be my three therapy appointments every week, where I go to try to make sense of my weekly feelings, ups and downs, and many symptoms.

I have to use some devices to make my mobility a little easier. I have canes, compression gloves and a daily ritual of massages with different lotions in an attempt to reduce the swelling and stiffness. I fear a lot for my future, and pretty much on a daily basis wonder how I’m gonna survive 40, 50 or 60 years more with all of this physical and psychological pain. I often feel like a burden, like an outcast, and I’m constantly scared of people getting tired of me for my everyday pain. I don’t know if I’ll be able to type, write or drive in some years as my fingers are already starting to look curvy and stiff. I don’t know if someday I’ll make a good mom because I’m too afraid of having postpartum depression. I want to work in Spain, but the idea of getting on a plane and living by myself makes me panic in a way that completely freezes me.

But, just today, I realized recovery is possible. Almost two years ago I had a panic attack so strong I lost the ability to speak. Even after I regained it, until today, I couldn’t pronounce the letter “r” correctly in Spanish. I know it’s a little detail, but for me, it’s huge. And every step of recovery is. Every day without a panic attack or without crying is a milestone.

I’m sorry you are going through a rough time, but the bravest ones are those who seek help. You are brave, so so brave. I thank you deeply for making the struggles of many of us — who feel like our bodies and our minds are beyond our control — visible. Thank you for teaching people it’s really hard to live with a chronic condition, and that it’s absolutely overwhelming at times. Thank you for showing people that recovery is possible, and that help is available if we want to reach for it.

I hope you feel better soon. I hope you find peace. I hope you are able to see how many of us are inspired by your courage.

Sending you a lot of love,


Lead image via Selena Gomez’s Facebook page

Originally published: October 11, 2018
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