Nobody is perfect, just ask Taraji P. Henson. The Empire star recently opened up about struggling with depression and anxiety, and how finding the right therapist made a positive impact on her. Taraji, 49, is known for being outspoken when it comes to mental health. She also testified in Congress about the urgent need for better mental health services earlier this year.
During an interview with Self Magazine, Taraji revealed that sometimes her depression would feel like a “dark cloud” hung over her. “I noticed the mood swings, like, you know, one day I would be up and the next day I would be down, feeling like I don’t want to go out in public, almost agoraphobic,” she confessed.
“There would be days when my brain wouldn’t stop racing with the worst scenarios in the world, which would heighten my anxiety,” the Hidden Figures actress added. “There was no shame when I started to recognize it. It was like, ‘I have to get some help,’ because I’m the life of the party and when I go dark, I go dark. I don’t want to leave the house.”
However, Taraji found help when she sought professional help. Her Empire costar, Gabourey Sidibe, recommended a therapist. “When you find that right person, oh my God, the sky cracks open,” she gushed. “It was extremely important for me to find a therapist who is a black woman, just because black women live in a different world than everyone else.”
She continued, “Our problems, daily interactions, and expectations are different than most other people, so I wanted a therapist who I could cut through the societal foundation of who I am with, so that we could get to my specific issues.”
Taraji also told Self that she believes the “strong black woman” trope found within media and pop culture is a dangerous myth. “There are some times where I feel absolutely helpless,” she said. “That’s human. Everybody feels like that. Just because I’m a black woman, don’t put that strong-superhero thing on me.”
In 2018, the What Men Want actress launched the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, named after her father. The nonprofit organization aims to end the stigma surrounding mental health in the black community.
What do you think about Taraji opening up about anxiety and depression? Sound off in the comments below!