Gabrielle Union has never steered clear of specific topics, and definitely not when the topic affects a decent amount of the population.
Gabrielle spoke with Gwyneth Paltrow at the In Goop Health virtual summit recently about both her mental health journey as well as hormonal issues caused by perimenopause.
“I’ve had so many rock bottom moments as an adult, starting with being raped at 19 at gunpoint at my job. It just felt like every so many years there was some major catastrophic event that was happening in my life. You know, divorce, career setbacks, relationship issues. There’s always something that just lands you on your ass and you’re like ‘There’s no way I can move on from this, I’ll never recover, I’ll never be the same.'”
“You have these mini deaths. You have to grieve the person you were before. And there have been times I’ve felt like I had to be reborn out of success, because that comes with its own challenges.”
Gabrielle announced that she was diagnosed with perimenopause, which typically occurs as women transition into menopause. Gabrielle was diagnosed in her 30s, but noted that her “symptoms reached a fever pitch” last September.
“I thought I was losing my mind. I thought I had early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s. I gained 20 pounds overnight of water retention, inflammation, bizarre. I couldn’t think. Now, when I have to public speak in the last few months, I’m so anxious, because I’m like, ‘Am I going to remember words?'”
Another symptom of her perimenopause happens to be suicidal ideation. Gabrielle stated she has experienced depressive episodes before, but didn’t generally have them for long periods of time, sometimes lasting as long as a couple of weeks.
“I fell into something so dark in December that it scared me. I had a stupid argument with D, (her husband Dwayne Wade), and 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.’ 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.'”
“I was able to get through it with talk therapy and diving into how I can regulate my hormones. Luckily I was at home and I alerted everyone.
“Separating the symptoms from who you really are…to say that it’s a challenge, I don’t think I really have the words, or I lost them, to describe what these last few months have been.”
Gabrielle has been open in the past about how being raped at gunpoint when she was 19 sparked her PTSD, speaking to Taraji P. Henson last December on her Facebook Watch show, Peace of Mind with Taraji.
A few months beforehand, Gabrielle mentioned her PTSD had been “on 10” in the months before due to the pandemic and racial unrest in the US.
“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. There’s just terror in my body.”
As well as suffering from PTSD and her experience with sexual assault, Gabrielle has been open about struggling with infertility, saying she’s suffered miscarriages before eventually giving birth to her daughter, Kaavia, thanks to a surrogate.
“Fertility issues strike so many people,” she said back in 2019.
“You do not have to be lurking in the shadows, going to your doctor’s appointment in full disguise. You are not defective. You are part of a very, very, very large community that understands every step you have been through. There is hope.”
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Written by Ashley Riordan