Like tons of other mothers in 2020, Gabrielle Union has been feeling heightened stress. As a survivor of sexual assault, a mother of a number of young Black children and . just a human being trying to guide her family through a global pandemic, she’s hanging in there — but shares that she has absolutely had to manage her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and give some extra time and attention to her mental health.
In an interview with Women’s Health, Union shared how the cultural climate — and particularly the increased saturation of images of police violence against Black people (which have already been declared major public health issues) — has effected her family and the “emotional fix-me” coping skills she’s cultivated for getting through it all.
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Gabrielle Union, WH’s October cover star, is the voice we all need right now ⚡️✨ In the cover story, @gabunion opens up about the tools that have helped her cope over the last few months, finding peace and focus, and creating more equal opportunities along the way: “I want to make sure that everything that is working for me is available to as many people as possible.” Read the interview at the link in bio. 📷: @djenebaaduayom
“The combination of the pandemic and this racial reckoning, alongside being inundated with [images of] the brutalization of Black bodies, has sent my PTSD into overdrive,” Union said. “There’s just terror in my body.”
She’s not alone, since the last few months have seen spikes in people needing and wanting information about anxiety, panic and mental health. For Union, who shares that she’s done a lot of the heavy trauma and mental health work in therapy (“I feel different in my body,” she said. “I feel freer.”), she says she’s had to give herself some routine tools to not become overwhelmed.
“I break out my emotional fix-me toolkit, and I try to run through all the situations,” she said. “I call it my ‘what’s the likelihood of X happening?’ method…If I’m fearful about going into a store because I’m anxious about being robbed, I’ll make myself feel better by going to one where there will be witnesses to cut down those chances. It’s been this way since ’92. It’s just something I do; second nature.”
Before you go, check out our slideshow of our favorite, most affordable mental health apps: