Taraji P. Henson is no stranger to battling mental health problems. The Academy Award–nominated actress has fought depression and anxiety and even started a foundation to combat mental illness in the Black community. But Henson recently disclosed that earlier this year, amid the coronavirus pandemic, she experienced an especially “dark moment” during which she considered taking her own life, People reports.
“That’s not me,” said the 50-year-old star. “Then, I started having thoughts about ending it.” Henson, who had recently purchased a gun, said she thought about using the firearm to take her life.
But after two consecutive nights of experiencing these thoughts repetitively, Henson told someone.
“I felt myself withdrawing,” she recalled. “People were calling me, I wasn’t responding. I just didn’t care. Finally, I’m talking to one of my girlfriends and I knew, I was smart enough to say, ‘I have to say it.’”
Even though she felt ashamed and feared people might think she was crazy, Henson confessed her thoughts to her friend. She said that once it was out in the open, she no longer wanted to go through with it.
“For me, I’m no professional, but I felt like, if I don’t say it, it becomes a plan,” she said. “And what scared me, is that I did it two nights in a row. And the thoughts kept coming.”
Now, Henson feels much better. The actress credited turning 50 in September with helping her to recover a more positive mindset.
“I am going to get control of this mentally and not be like, ’You are getting old, don’t nobody care, you ain’t working,’” she said to herself. “Well, duh, no one is working, it is COVID. So I felt that coming.”
Henson isn’t the only one who has struggled with mental health during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Findings show that Americans have been filling prescriptions for antidepressants, anti-anxiety and anti-insomnia medications in record numbers during the crisis.
For related coverage, read “COVID-19 Worsens Mental Health, Sparks Overdoses” and “Amid COVID and Racial Unrest, Black Churches Put Faith in Mental Health Care.”