American actress Taraji P. Henson has revealed that she is struggling with anxiety and depression.
In a chat with SELF magazine, a health media brand, Henson said she realised her struggles with depression and anxiety about two years ago when she started having mood swings.
“I struggle with depression and anxiety. I would have to say I realised it about two years ago. I noticed the mood swings, like one day I’d be up and the next day I’d be down, feeling like I don’t want to go out in public.”
Henson says her anxiety reveals itself through heart palpitations, sweating, nervousness, feeling helpless and racing thoughts that she can’t control.
“And there would be days that my brain wouldn’t stop racing which I would think of the most worst scenarios in the world which would heighten my anxiety”
Henson said at first she didn’t realise that some of those mood swings could be related to menopause but after checking in with her therapist, she learned how to cope and manage those highs and lows.
“[That confirmation] made me feel better, but now I still have to manage it,” she said. “That just means talking to my therapist when I feel this way, doing things to get me out of the muck.”
Henson is best known for playing roles that depict “strong” black women. The awe-striking execution of her role as Cookie Lyon in American musical drama television series “Empire” is a good case in point. However, away from the screen, she calls it a facade.
“Sometimes, the weight is just too much and to put on that facade like you are strong all the time is exactly what it is, a facade; that’s whack,” she said.
The “Acrimony” actress is now working to help others struggling with mental health issues, especially young children, through her nonprofit launched in 2018. The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is named after her father, who was thought to have suffered from bipolar disorder.