Gabrielle Union speaks about her mental health amid pandemic and racial unrest (Getty)
Gabrielle Union speaks about her mental health amid pandemic and racial unrest (Getty)

Gabrielle Union says PTSD is in 'overdrive' due to pandemic and ongoing racial unrest

Actress says 'there's just terror in my body'

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Wednesday 02 September 2020 20:40

Gabrielle Union has opened up about her mental health struggles amid the pandemic and ongoing racial unrest, explaining that her post-traumatic stress disorder has been “on 10” in recent months.

Speaking with Women’s Health for the October cover story, the actress, who has spoken openly about suffering with PTSD since she was raped at gunpoint when she was 19, reflected on the impact of current events.

“The combination of a pandemic and this racial reckoning, alongside being inundated with [images of] the brutalisation of black bodies, has sent my PTSD into overdrive,” she said. “There’s just terror in my body.”

According to Union, to help her cope in these moments, she relies on something she calls her “emotional fix-me toolkit”.

“I break out my emotional fix-me toolkit, and I try to run through all the situations. I call it my ‘what’s the likelihood of X happening?’ method,” the 47-year-old said. “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.”

The Bring It On star, who is married to Dwyane Wade, also attends therapy, which she told the outlet helps her “feel freer”.

But despite signs of progress that indicate the possibility of racial equality in the future, Union said she isn’t convinced yet.

In June, the actress filed a harassment complaint against America’s Got Talent judge Simon Cowell and NBC for what she claimed was a “toxic” work environment during her time as a judge on the show.

According to Union, her complaint prompted numerous other people to come forward with similar accounts of.

“All of these people came through the door,” she said. “How do I create a larger movement to address all this trauma and all this harm? I can’t just swallow the information I now have.”

Overall, Union said she is “not going to factor in change I have yet to see,” explaining that “for the most part, across all industries, you see the same power structure that existed before George Floyd.”

“All of these initiatives that people are so excited about - if the people at the top haven’t changed, and they’re not interested in creating more space up here, how far are these people that we’re bringing in going?” she said.

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