“For a couple of days, I couldn’t get out of the bed, I didn’t care. That’s not me,” shared Taraji P. Henson on her new Facebook Watch series, Peace of Mind with Taraji.
While discussing a “dark moment” Henson endured during the coronavirus pandemic, the actress revealed alongside best friend and co-host Tracie Jade and psychologist Dr. LaShonda Green that she had thoughts of wanting to take her own life.
“I started having thoughts about ending it. It happened two nights in a row. And I purchased a gun not too long ago,” the NAACP Image Award winner said. “I could go in there right now, and just end it all.”
In the midst of her suicidal thoughts, Henson said she could feel herself withdrawing from people and recalled thinking about how it would affect her 26-year-old son, Marcell Johnson, and noting that “He’s grown, he’ll get over it.”
“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.'”
Although part of her felt “ashamed” for these thoughts, mainly attributed to the fact that she didn’t want her friends to think she was crazy or obsess over her mental health, she felt instant relief after opening up to one friend.
“So one day I just blurted it out, to my girlfriend. She called me in the morning and I was like, ‘You know I thought about killing myself last night,’ she says followed by a deep breath. Adding, “Oh my God, I feel so much better. I’m not gonna do it now.”
During further reflection, the 50-year-old revealed that if she hadn’t told someone, it would have formed into a plan.
“And what scared me, is that I did it two nights in a row. And the thoughts kept coming. Now I started thinking about how. At first, it was like, I don’t want to be here. And then I started thinking about going and getting the gun. And that’s why when I woke up the next morning, I blurted it out. Because I felt like after a while it was going to take over me and it was going to become a plan because that’s how strong my brain is.”
Dr. Green revealed that when Henson finally shared her thoughts with a friend, it became a cathartic moment because she took away the shame while validating and normalizing it for herself.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).