Debra Messing wished herself a happy birthday on Saturday and reflected on her “challenging” year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 52-year-old posted a poolside Instagram selfie writing, “It’s my birthday! Yup, I’m saying it.” The year had been “a challenging one, in every way” wrote Messing, which overshadowed her birthday excitement.

“Usually I like to sit quietly, and review the year that has passed,” she wrote,. “Acknowledge goals set and met, wonderful surprises never anticipated, difficulties, long hoped for endeavors yet to be broached, subtle shifts within my spirit and soul, burdens released. Inevitably I come to see that the year didn’t unfold the way I had imagined, or even hoped for, and yet knowing deep within, that everything happened exactly as it should.”

“This year is different,” she wrote. “With the pandemic descending and all the pain, loss, suffering, and fear it has brought, I feel ill equipped to see life, as it was, as it is. I know I’m not alone.” On the privilege of aging, she added, “The challenges remain, for now. But I have Hope. I feel the tremor of possibility. And that is all I need.”

Celebrity friends ranging from Ellen Pompeo and Kerry Washington to Messing’s Will and Grace co-star Sean Hayes chimed in with birthday wishes.

In a recent episode of the I Weigh podcast, Messing looked back on her Will and Grace days in a conversation with actress Jameela Jamil. She shared her previous body image frustrations, particularly during dress fittings for the 2000 Emmy awards, when she was nominated for best leading actress in a TV comedy.

“I would try to fit into these gowns and of course they were sample sizes, which are 0 or 2, and it was like, ‘OK, we have to let out the seams, etc.’ And this was supposed to be the greatest moment of my life — being nominated for Best Actress in a TV show I loved for an Emmy and walking on the red carpet,” she said, as previously reported by Yahoo. “And I walked out and I immediately felt so incredible, and then I was standing next to all of these other actresses who were half my size, and I felt fat, and I felt ugly. And I look back at those pictures and I was beautiful!”

Though she began Will and Grace as a size 8, Messing began losing weight, sparking compliments from others.

“I mourn the fact that that was my interpretation of reality and that was the torture that I put myself through,” she said. “Because ultimately I ended up getting down to a size 2. I was way too skinny, but, you know, going in for those fittings, I fit into everything! And all of a sudden, I literally could fit into anything that was high fashion… And so all of a sudden, everything just seemed to open up to me, because I was a 2.”

Unfortunately, her body “could not hold out” at that size, and Messing says her “adrenals crashed.”

“I was exhausted, and it just became clear to me that I couldn’t be healthy and a size 2 at the same time,” she said.

Now, Messing is at a healthy weight, although designers occasionally turn down her request for clothing.

“I’m in a much better place,” Messing, who co-hosts The Dissenters podcast, said to Jamil. “I am bigger now than I’ve ever been in my life. I feel OK about being larger than I was when I was 25, because that is normal. I do still have flare ups of triggering moments when I have to dress up for a special occasion, and then the whole what-am-I-going-to-wear thing happens.”

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