Taraji Henson Talks Fame, Anxiety & Struggling To Find A Good Therapist4 min read
Taraji Henson is a celebrated actress most known for playing ‘Cookie’ in the award-winning show, Empire, but did you know that she’s also a mental health advocate? Driven by her own personal struggle and family history with mental health, Taraji founded the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation last year in honor of her father.
The foundation was set up to encourage and advocate for more culturally competent therapists and psychiatrists in black communities. Since the 1990s the number of black children in the United States who have died from suicide has doubled.
Taraji openly talks about her mental health as a way to destigmatize mental illness and promote treatment seeking in communities of color. Many can relate to her personal story of living with anxiety and depression.
Taraji recently told Variety:
I talk to someone regularly. It has to be regularly, and that’s what I learned. It gets frustrating because you’re waiting for them to fix you, but it’s not that easy. I had to go through several therapists that I felt comfortable talking to, or that I felt was moving me forward and that I was making some progress with, and that takes time. I remember the first time I went, I was angry, because I was like, “She didn’t tell me nothing! She didn’t tell me anything!” You’re not going to figure it all out in one sitting.
I’m a people person and that’s naturally how I am. I like to people watch, I like to take myself to lunch, I like to shop by myself. I’m an only child and I enjoy spending time with myself. I’m okay with that. I miss waking early Saturday morning and going to Target. I can’t do that anymore. I tried it in Chicago before Cookie became Cookie. I was in Bed, Bath and Beyond and this guy followed me around the store the entire time, so that ended that. I get up to go walk my dog, and I realize I can’t do that. So even just walking my dog, I can’t do that. So it’s depressing.
It wears on me. It does. I have to be conscious about everything. Everything. Every move I make, everything that comes out of my mouth. I have to go over it. That’s not living. That’s not just being. Living is being in the moment and saying whatever the f— you want to say and that’s what it is. But I can’t do that. And once upon a time, I could. It’s depressing. I feel myself changing, and I don’t want to. It’s making me a little hard in a way. It’s making me a little agoraphobic, and I’ve never been, but I have anxiety sometimes when I just want to go outside, and I can’t. Somebody’s got to go with me.
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