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Gabrielle Union Explains the ‘Terror’ Trauma Survivors Feel in Their Body

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Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

What happened: Gabrielle Union is opening up about her struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how the pandemic has sent it into overdrive. In an interview with Women’s Health, the actress explained she has been living with the condition since 1992 when she was raped at gunpoint. Union said she feels terror in her body and often has to look to her “fix-me” tool-kit to run through different types of scenarios and solutions that will make her feel safer. She is also going to therapy,

• What is PTSD?

The combination of the pandemic and this racial reckoning, alongside being inundated with [images of] the brutalization of Black bodies, has sent my PTSD into overdrive. — Gabrielle Union, Women’s Health

The Frontlines: The pandemic has been especially difficult for people who have already lived through trauma. The uncertainty at a global scale has many people with and without PTSD feeling more on edge than usual.

  • According to the National Center for PTSD, the pandemic has increased feeling on-guard and unsafe, or hypervigilant. For many, elements of the pandemic may also be triggering or remind them of their trauma.
  • Experts fear that the pandemic will lead to new cases of PTSD in people who had no previous trauma.
  • Children may be the most vulnerable amid the pandemic in developing PTSD.

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A Mighty Voice: Our contributor Melissa Yost shared, “Thanks to the global pandemic, no one can turn their attention away from a stark, relentless reality that no amount of work, fun or entertainment can take away. There is a sense of ‘nowhere is safe,’ and we even worry when we step outside of our homes, keeping six feet away. We can’t help but wonder: Will I get sick? Will I die? When will my life be ‘normal” again?’ You can submit your first person story, too.

From Our Community:

I ___________ when I’m anxious.

Other things to know: Mighty contributors are talking about the weight the pandemic is putting on their emotional and mental health. Here is what they’re saying about coping:

How to take action: Here are several resources if you’re having trouble coping with trauma amid the pandemic. If you’re in crisis, you can call 1-800-273-TALK to speak with someone now.

Header image via Gabrielle Union/Instagram

Originally published: September 3, 2020
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