Gabrielle Union wants other people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to know they're not alone. This month, she filmed a video for the Child Mind Institute's #MyYoungerSelf campaign, and in it, she talks about how she learned to live with her PTSD.
"Hey guys, it's Gabrielle Union, and I'm here to tell you that I am a PTSD survivor, thriver, badass M.F.-er," she says in the video. "I was diagnosed with PTSD at 19 after I was raped at gunpoint and I didn't let it stop me. I didn't want it to define my whole life, and it doesn't have to. Asking for help, needing help, doesn't make you weak or less worthy of love or support or success. You can literally be anything you want to be."
"PTSD isn't a death sentence," Union continues. "You don't have to be alone or feel isolated. There are so many of us out there who are dealing with exactly what you're dealing with and it doesn't make you weak. It doesn't make you anything but human. And we all have something, and you might even become a successful actress and best-selling author, and, I don't know, be dope, because that's what you deserve."
Union previously shared that hearing other survivors' stories while on her book tour triggered her PTSD.
"On my book tour, a lot of cities felt like a revival—there were so many disclosures of abuse during the Q&A portion of talks and during the book signing; even as I was driving away people were flagging down my car in tears. I didn't realize how big the need was for so many people to just get it out, to have someone look them in the eye and say, 'I believe you,'" she told Redbook earlier this year.
But, as she mentioned previously, Union has several productive ways of managing her symptoms and staying mentally healthy, including spending time with her kids and her dogs, sitting in nature, watching TV, and talking to her therapist.
[During her book tour, Union Skyped with her life coach, "because the horrors that I was taking in triggered my PTSD," she said. "I feel a responsibility to offer that sense of safety and support. And, luckily, I have the means to help myself at the end of the night."