In honor of her 23 birthday, I wanted to tell you a story about my sister. She is my most trusted confidant and my strongest ally. This is a story about my best friend, Katheryn Beltran.

The background of this story begins during my first battle with depression. I was 16 years old and was going through my first breakup. It was extremely painful to handle, but I did my best to hide it from my family. Katie was off at college in Pensacola, FL so she couldn’t be there for me during this time. I wasn’t aware of what depression was and didn’t understand how to fight it, so I figured these negative thoughts would go away.

When I’m depressed, one of my coping mechanisms is to binge eat. I’ll mindlessly enter the kitchen prepping food for no other reason than the distraction from my thoughts. On one of these occurrences, my mom innocently commented, “Didn’t you just eat?” And I LOST it. Out of nowhere I began to cry and ran to my room. I hid under my blankets while my mom ran over to see what was wrong. She never meant her words as harmful, but it made me feel so much shame. After all the heartbreak, hiding, and sadness I couldn’t handle it anymore. So, I started giving up and wouldn’t talk to anybody.

I have never been one to express my emotions. To everybody watching I come out as strong and confident, but to see me vulnerable and weak, my mom didn’t know what to do. She left the room and closed the door as I continued to hide. Soon I heard a conversation going on outside my door, “I don’t know what to do. She’s been having a hard time lately, but I can’t help her.” My mom knocked and stepped inside. She said, “Katie is on the phone. She wants to talk to you.”

I took the phone and cried my hello, and you know what Katie did?

She talked. 

For the next 2.5 hours, Katie let me cry while yapping on about college and friends. For the first time during that entire breakup, I didn’t feel alone. She knew I was hurting and that the only thing I needed was her presence. There was no advice given or judgment suggested. 

Katie saved me that day. I don’t know what I would have done if she hadn’t been there to help. Her love was enough for me to begin the fight to take care of myself again, and shortly after, I beat that battle with depression.

So, Katie, thanks for your consistent blessing to be who I need to be. I’ve never felt judgment from you, nor have I felt lack of confidence when you’re around. You’ve always pushed me to do better, be better, and be real. You are my best friend and I love you.

Here’s to our future adventures!

Love Always,

Melina