From the outside looking in, actress Gabrielle Union seems to have everything that could possibly bring a person happiness, but just like everyone else she has her own bouts with less than sunny days.
In fact, Union recently revealed that this past year was a bit of a roller coaster ride when she found herself mentally out of sorts and struggling to feel like herself.
“I fell into something so dark in December that it scared me,” she said during a Goop Health virtual summit with fellow actress Gwyneth Paltrow while explaining that an insignificant fight with husband Dwyane Wade was a contributor to her mental health struggle.
“Instead of my usual problem-solving…immediately, my brain, that little inner voice said, ‘He’s never going to get it unless you’re dead,’” she said of her suicidal thoughts. “Only because I’ve been in therapy for half my life that I was like ‘No, I don’t know who is talking now, it’s not my intuition.’”
As a result Union felt that she was further losing a grip of herself.
“I thought I was losing my mind,” “The Being Mary Jane” star explained. “I thought I had early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s. I gained 20 pounds overnight of water retention, inflammation. Bizarre. I couldn’t think.”
As it turns out, Union was going through perimenopause, a precursor to transitioning into menopause. With her hormones out of sorts, Union explained that her days and thoughts became dark.
The often-smiling actress, who shares adorable moments with daughter Kaavia James Wade on social, is no stranger to transparency when it comes to life’s obstacles. In her memoir “We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories that are Funny, Complicated, and True,” Union detailed the trauma she has lived with after being sexually assaulted at gunpoint at the age of 19.
“My life became like that cartoon where someone is walking along and magically a new plank is placed before them with each new step. It felt like there was nothing beneath me, but then each visit, each story, each memory was like another plank. I had no idea where the path were taking me, but I hoped healing was on the other side. Being able to function. Not having to literally run in panic,” she wrote in the 2017 release.
That life-altering incident is the very reason Union has spent most of her life in therapy, and why the pandemic and civil unrest of 2020 struck a deep nerve with actress.
“The combination of a pandemic and this racial reckoning, alongside being inundated with [images of] the brutalization of Black bodies, has sent my PTSD into overdrive,” she said. “There’s just terror in my body,” she told Women’s Health Magazine last year.
But even with the struggles of this past year, Union has dug deep, and like the phoenix risen time and time again.
“You have to grieve the person you were before,” she said.