In a candid conversation with Gwyneth Paltrow during the In Goop Health virtual summit, actress Gabrielle Union spoke about her mental health journey throughout the years, and her recent battle with suicidal ideation.
Speaking over video to Gwyneth, the L.A.'s Finest star shared, "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.'"
Gabrielle, who has previously spoken about how she was sexual assaulted while working at a shoe store as a teen that led to her developing PTSD, shared that each challenge has allowed her to grown. "You have these mini deaths," she said. "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."
One newer challenge the TV star has faced in recent years is perimenopause, which marks the end of a woman's reproductive years as she transitions into menopause, and can cause a wide range of symptoms associated with hormonal disruption. Gabrielle, who is 48, was first diagnosed in her 30s, but said that the "symptoms reached a fever pitch" just this past September.
"I thought I was losing my mind," she explained. "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?'"
However, Gabrielle's scariest symptom was suicidal ideation.
"I've had more depressive episodes, but never for a long periods of time. Maybe a couple of weeks," the actress, who is married to former NBA star Dwyane Wade, said. "I fell into something so dark in December that it scared me. I had a stupid argument with D, 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.'"
She shared that fortunately, her suicidal ideation was "fleeting."
"I was able to get through it with talk therapy and diving into how I can regulate my hormones," Gabrielle shared. "Luckily I was at home and I alerted everyone."
She continued, "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."