Gabrielle Union on her anxiety: I dont need you to try to fix me

Gabrielle Union has been very open about her experiences as a rape survivor. It happened well before her fame — when she was a 19-year-old college student — and Gabrielle has spoken about it over the years, with the most detail being in her first memoir We’re Going to Need More Wine. Listening to the audiobook, in her voice, as she described the events and her feelings and how the case was treated and publicized at the time, was powerful. Gabrielle makes clear it’s something she’s still dealing with in a recent Instagram post where she explained how her PTSD as a rape survivor affects her anxiety and daily life.

Gabrielle Union is getting candid about her day-to-day struggles with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The Being Mary Jane actress, 49, shared a video on Instagram and detailed issues with her mental health after being sexually assaulted when she was 19 years old.

“As a rape survivor, I have battled PTSD for 30 years,” she wrote. “Living with anxiety and panic attacks all these years has never been easy. There’s times the anxiety is so bad it shrinks my life. Leaving the house or making a left hand turn at an uncontrolled light can fill me with terror.”

“Anxiety can turn my anticipation about a party or fun event I’ve been excited about attending (Met Ball) into pure agony,” she added, sharing a video of herself standing on the red carpet at the 2022 Met Gala.

“When we tell y’all what we are experiencing, please believe us the 1st time we mention it,” the actress said. “No, it’s not like being nervous and everyone experiences and deals with anxiety differently, and that’s OK. I don’t need you to try to ‘fix’ me.”

Union continued, “I share this as I hope everyone living with anxiety knows they aren’t alone or ‘being extra.’ I see you, I FEEL you and there is so much love for you. Always. Love and light good people. Be good to each other out there 🖤.”

[From People]

I think even in her concise post Gabrielle really shines a light on the nuances of PTSD and anxiety. Popular media portrayals seem to lean toward big, obvious triggers for PTSD and related panic attacks, but I think Gabrielle’s examples show how small daily things can be triggering at some times and not others. For instance, the anxiety of an uncontrolled environment, even just at a stoplight, when the initial incident was something that was completely out of her control, makes perfect sense. I have anxiety with a pretty specific trigger and I try to control my surroundings as much as reasonably possible to minimize how it affects me. Like Gabrielle says, everyone experiences and deals with anxiety differently. People with anxiety have their own coping mechanisms that work for them and they don’t need others to try and fix them. After 30 years, Gabrielle knows how to manage her own anxiety and she’s sharing her thoughts and experience in general terms to help others.

Photos credit:, Backgrid, Instar and via Instagram

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