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Taraji P. Henson Opens Up About ‘Suffocating’ Depression & Anxiety



? Micaiah Carter/Instagram/SELF Magazine/unCrazed Composite

Taraji P. Henson has spoken about her “suffocating” anxiety and depression struggles. 

The Empire star discussed her struggles with mental health during an interview with SELF magazine, saying she is overcome with darkness, and her anxiety causes heart palpitations, sweating, feeling helpless, racing thoughts and nervousness.

In 2012, Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old African-American teenager from Florida, who was fatally shot by George Zimmerman. He turned himself in to law enforcement after claiming he was injured from the incident due to shooting Martin in self-defence. In 2013, Zimmerman, after a 2-day, 6-person jury, he was acquitted of all charges.

Henson says that “things started to shift for me when Trayvon Martin” was murdered, and she began to fear for her son’s, Marcell Johnson, safety.


She said, “That’s when I noticed anxiety started kicking in. I noticed the mood swings – first I’d be up, then I’d be down. I didn’t really want to go out in public. Almost agoraphobic like: ‘Ah, too much to deal with.’ Feeling really awkward in my skin. Feeling out of sorts. And just down. Like Debbie Downer. Like a dark cloud. I’m like the life of the party and when I go dark, I go dark. I don’t want to leave the house.”


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In 2003, her son’s father, William Johnson, was murdered, and in 2006 her own father died. After trying yoga and meditation, she felt more help was needed as her brain would still rush with thoughts, “I had aligned all my chakras, and I still wanted to headbutt a b****.

The therapy came into play out of necessity. It was [a] time where I was like, ‘Oh, I’m just not feeling like myself anymore,’ and my son was going through his issues with becoming a young black male in America with no dad and no grandad. It was like, ‘Okay I’m not professional. We both need help.”

You can read the full interview here.


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