People.com Lifestyle Health Abigail Spencer Opens Up About the 'Stress' That 'Almost Took Me Out' in 'Hardest Year of My Life' "I literally felt like my insides were being eaten by stress," Grey's Anatomy star Abigail Spencer said of her experiences By BreAnna Bell BreAnna Bell Digital News Writer, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on August 5, 2022 07:25 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Abigail Spencer looked back on some of the trials she has faced as she rang in her 41st birthday. The Grey's Anatomy actress opened up about her physical and mental health battle amid "the hardest year of my life" in an emotional Instagram post on Thursday. In a collection of photos showing off a recent trip to Paris with her son Roman Pruett, 13, and friend Miss Jai Alexander, 64, Spencer smiled in the pictures as she offered an inside look into the personal turmoil that took place after she celebrated her 40th birthday — and how she overcame it. "August 4th 2021, I moved into the hardest year of my life," Spencer wrote. "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." "Stress almost took me out," she explained. "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." Abigail Spencer Broke Her Wrist While Filming Coronavirus Charity Video, Will Undergo Surgery The symptoms began to manifest physically, Spencer added, noting how she "cried so hard on multiple occasions that it led me to vomiting." "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," she recalled. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. After some time passed, and through work with her "healing community," Spencer experienced a shift in her energy, allowing her to somewhat close the painful chapter in her life. "I scheduled my grief & physical care like it was my effing job. Because it was," she said. "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." Abigail Spencer Will Reprise Role as Dr. Megan Hunt for 'Grey's Anatomy' Season 18 The Suits alum continued her message offering hope for her followers also experiencing a rough patch in their lives. "I share all this because the 'pretty & dreamy' 'living your best life pictures' you see here don't tell the full story," the actress said. "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." RELATED VIDEO: Ellen Pompeo to Appear in Only 8 Eps of 'Grey's Anatomy' Season 19 as She Signs On for New Hulu Series "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," Spencer continued. "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."