Taraji P. Henson on Living with Depression and Anxiety | SELF

what I find disturbing in our community
the african-american community is that we can talk about a fibroid we can talk
about cancer breast cancer AIDS even but we won’t deal with the mental and that’s
an issue I struggle with depression and anxiety I would have to say I realized
it about two years ago I noticed the mood swings like you know one day I be
up and the next day I’d be down feeling like I don’t want to go out in public
almost agoraphobic like too much to deal with feeling really awkward in my skin
feeling out of sorts you know and just down like debbie downer like a dark
cloud and then there will be days where my brain wouldn’t stop racing which
would I would think of the most worst scenarios in the world which would
heighten my anxiety and you know people were like you just need to meditate and
yoga and things like that and I would do that but my brain would still race for
me there was no shame when I started to recognize it it was like there had to
get some help because I’m the I’m the life of the party
and when I go dark I can’t talk I don’t want to leave the house and my friends
started to notice me pulling back to my father who also had his issues with
mental health was really open about it about his manic depression but you know
as I think back no one else really talked about it it was hush-hush
or you know he just crazy or you know things like that
what my dad what he needed was a culturally competent therapist and it’s
not even about the skin color or the race it’s about being culturally
competent and the reason why we can’t find culturally competent therapists is
because at home an african-american community we don’t talk about mental
health you know it’s a stigma surrounding it and when you have no one
to talk to what a person usually do is they will try to self-medicate we’re
just not allowed to be vulnerable we have to be strong all the time this is
for year hundreds of damage for hundred years
trauma that we have not dealt with and the way we deal with it is be strong put
on a strong face nothing’s wrong with you you don’t have mental health you’re
not gay don’t you know you’re not allowed to be human that’s a lie
we hurt and we’re suffering when you think about the trauma the
african-american community has been through since we’ve been brought to this
country we have not dealt with that and then you get to these microaggressions
that are happening right in front of our faces every day on television women’s
sons are being taken from him for no reason at all and through that we still
have to be strong how fucking dare you how dare you how dare you put that on me
I felt pressure to be strong as a black woman in Hollywood because I kept
hearing that term everyone kept saying be a strong black woman strong black
woman then I realized that’s a myth it means that I’m some superhuman in some
kind of way where nothing affects me and that is so far from the truth
sometimes I want to be strong sometimes the weight is just too much you know and
to put on that facade like you’re strong all the time is this exactly good it is
a facade that’s that’s that’s the wack you have to be human and human means
you’re vulnerable and human measure your layers and you know being in an industry
where you know you’re getting paid 52 cents on the dollar compared to a white
male things like that weigh on your soul you know because I’m an artist and I’m
an artist to the bone so when I work I give you all of me and to know that all
of me is only worth 52 cents on the dollar of what he’s getting paid that
hurts a lot of that stuff started weighing on me and sort of like dimming
my lights and I had to just get control of it and you know what I started to do
was started making me feel good about it it’s not keeping it in and talking about
it you know because if you talk maybe things will get fixed I felt such a
relief when I finally said it publicly like I suffer from this people
just it was an outpour you know as out poor people it was like they were like
this and all of a sudden they felt free to speak on it when I got back above
water when I stopped suffocating myself I was drowning and once I released my
truth once I spoke my truth I started to float back you know that’s what it is
it’s luggage it’s baggage and it will weigh you down you better unpack those
trunks and get that mess out of deal with it it’s okay we’re human no one’s
perfect they’re the perfection is the perfect
lie when my therapist said that my wings sprouted the pressure of trying to be
something perfect which doesn’t exist it’s crazy let go of that myth when when
I’m vulnerable I’m scared or I’m having these non pleasant thoughts I let it run
because if you if you muffle it it’s only gonna resurface again so you have
to kind of let it run and play out like a faucet just let it run until the water
runs out and then once oh you pick yourself back up because you know your
mind will play tricks on you I talked to myself and I think more people need to
talk to themselves but cuz you work things out and it’s not you know people
can call it crazy whatever I even catch myself doing it in public and I have to
stop but it’s it’s just a way to work things out and yes I think it’s okay
it’s okay I would have a full-on conversation with myself in the mirror
when you have issues and you have no one to talk to and the walls are closing in
the voices are getting too loud what I noticed the people people will start to
self-medicate because you want to feel good right so then they turn to alcohol
they turn to drugs and we’re seeing this with the youth a lot I’m a celebrity and at this point everybody kept asking me do you have a charity and
then I really couldn’t find anything that I was passionate about and then I
was like this is it you know what I mean because this is something I’m really
passionate about this is something that is a necessity for me and so we have to
break this cycle of keeping our mouths closed so I called my best friend who
also has a lifetime of suffering with anxiety and that’s when we decided to
birth the Boris Lawrence Henson foundation named after my father so I
think he’d be really proud I felt such an urgency to do something I felt like
it was my mission to give back to these children because they’re having coping
issues and so our our my foundation and what we’re trying to do is we’re trying
to get these babies while they’re kids so we infiltrate the school we get
counselors in there who can see a child dealing with a traumatic situation at
home because these kids come to school from trauma from traumatic situations at
home and we expect them to learn and sit down and focus I’m speaking up now
because we are facing a national crisis I want people to know that it is okay to get seek help for mental health
there is nothing wrong with it you go to the dentist don’t you you go
get your yearly checkup got a check on your mental

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  1. it's really weird to see that people like her ( i mean celebrities) can have those problems
    i know it's kinda stupid buuut……
    i hope you will get ok to me you're a strong woman β™₯️β™₯️

  2. OH MY GOD!!! I LOVED THIS VIDEO SOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!! πŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎ

  3. I talk to myself also working it out. My neighbor say something to me That I Know I never shared…I now write down or use an app on my phone ❀

  4. I love her so much she’s not just a great actor but a great human, activist teacher and EVERYTHING! Speaking out about a topic which is hard and difficult for everyone to talk about is something that a strong and faithful woman would do! She sees the trauma that we all go through and she is fighting for it! β™₯️

  5. I'm dealing with anxiety and depression I am on a lot of meds for it I have psychologist and a therapist that I see every two weeks I will say it's very tough thing to deal with even trying to get out the house and gets some air barely works too but you do all you can to stick through it

  6. I think people misunderstand "strong". "Strong" doesn't mean not having emotions and feelings, not having low points, not being vulnerable. "Strong" means persevering despite of the issues. "Strong" means standing back up after you have fallen…and the fall doesn't have to only be a short one. It's still "strength" if you were down for years before you got back up.
    By my definition, she is strong because of what she has gone through and what she is doing about it and accomplishing.

  7. Love she's shedding light on this subject. When she said "How dare you?!" Ooh child, I felt that! Side note, that hair is EVERYTHING! yasss sis

  8. And this is one of the reasons I’m striving to become a psychologist for the future. The mental does not exist in the black community and that is an issue. It’s time for a change.

  9. So grateful for this overdue conversation. We in th African American community self medicate and suppress and its unfortunately generationally perpetrated. Maybe now the cycle can stop and we too can be allowed to just be. Healed. Whole. Human.

  10. I hear what you're saying about talking to yourself. There are times when I can't keep my mouth shut either. Actually…I seem to remember hearing or reading that it's a sign of intelligence.

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