Sunday, October 2, 2022

PEACE OF MIND WITH TARAJI: Is the Pressure to Be a Strong Black Woman Too Much? / WATCH

*This week’s second episode drop of Facebook Watch’s newest talk show, Peace of Mind with Taraji, is now available!

In this week’s episodes, Taraji and Tracie are addressing mental breakdowns. On Monday, they had a revealing discussion with Tamar Braxton about her own mental breakdown and the pressure of being a strong Black woman. On today’s episode, Dr. LaShonda Green joins the pair to discuss mental breakdowns further and Taraji reveals details of her own struggles and mental collapse.

  • Title: Is the Pressure to Be a Strong Black Woman Too Much?
  • Description: Taraji reveals her shocking mental collapse as Dr. LaShonda Green breaks down mental breakdowns. Why do Black women, in particular, try to heal on their own, the toll that takes and tips to help.

Some highlights from the episode include:

  • 1:01 – Taraji discusses how the pandemic has affected her mental health and reveals a moment where she started to experience her own mental collapse
    • Taraji: “Let me take you there, so during this pandemic it’s been hard on all of us, and I had a moment, I had a dark moment, I was in a dark place, for a couple of days I couldn’t get out of the bed, I didn’t care… that’s not me… then, I started having thoughts about ending it. It happened two nights in a row…and I purchased a gun, not too long ago, and it’s in the safe y’know and I started like…if I could go in there right now and end it all… cause I want it to be over like, but it’s in my head you know? I thought about my son, I said he’s grown, he’ll get over it…you know what I mean, I just didn’t care, I felt myself withdrawing, people were calling me, I wasn’t responding… I didn’t care. 

Finally, I am talking to one of my girlfriends and I knew, I was smart enough to say, I have to say it, cause a part of me was ashamed… I don’t want them to think I am crazy, I don’t want them to obsess over me, or think they got to come and sit on me, because this one will [points to Tracie], and so I was like I don’t want to be handicapped and I feel weird. So, one day I just blurted it out to my girlfriend, she called me in the morning, and I was like ‘I thought about killing myself last night…[sighs] oh my god I feel so much better, I’m not going to do it now.’ For me, I’m no professional, but I felt like if I don’t say it then it becomes a plan and what scared me was that I did it two nights in a row and the thoughts kept coming, now I started think about how, at first it was like ‘I don’t want to be here,’ and then I started thinking about going to get 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 is how strong my brain is. You know our thoughts, they’re that powerful.”

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Taraji Peace of Mind - Dr LaShonda Green
Taraji Peace of Mind – Dr LaShonda Green

  • 2:45 – Dr. LaShonda Green shares advice on Taraji’s experience
    • Dr. LaShonda Green: “It is very normal to feel lonely, to not want to do it anymore, there are so many things that we think that are wrong, that are unhealthy, that are absolutely normal, but when you said it, it was probably a very cathartic moment for you because you took away the shame and you validated, and you normalized it for yourself. Especially now, where people are isolated, cut off, and you don’t have to believe every thought you have.”
    • Taraji: “That’s the stuff that wakes me up at night, that’s my active brain.”
  • 3:17 – Dr LaShonda Green and Taraji and Tracie discuss a misconception surrounding the term ‘mental breakdown’
    • Taraji: Are those mental breakdowns, are they common?”
    • Dr. LaShonda Green: “Well the thing is, the mental breakdown, that’s a layman term, so it’s not a clinical term.”
    • Taraji: “Clear this up please”
    • Dr. LaShonda Green: “It’s sort of like a symptom of something larger. Mental breakdowns are, for the purposes of this conversation, they happen, and I know this is very cliche, but it depends, that’s our saying because it is very true, so what will break you down [gestures at Tracie], may not break you down [gestures at Taraji].”
  • 3:45- The group discusses the pressures associated with being a strong Black woman
    • Taraji: “So Shelley and Tamar both thought about taking their lives… [clips from Monday’s episode with Tamar Braxton and guest Shelley Meche’tte]
    • Dr. LaShonda Green: “The strong Black woman ideology has become something that has to be achievable, rather than aspirational and that pressure in itself I think has created a lot of unrealistic expectations that are both self-imposed and are imposed by others. So, we also buy into it because that’s the one thing that we have ‘I’m stronger than you.’”
    • Taraji: “That’s what I grabbed onto when I enrolled into an HBCU, that was my identity, because we are the least protected, the least respected, no one cares, no one listens to us and now we have this title: STRONG BLACK WOMAN [Taraji pumps fist in the air] AHA …. Now I got something over you.”
    • Dr. LaShonda Green: “And it works, the problem is it works until it doesn’t work.”
  • 4:45Dr LaShonda Green on the signs that you may be on the verge of experiencing a breakdown
    • Taraji: “What are some red flags that present when you are on the verge of a breakdown?”
    • Dr LaShonda Green: “Well I think noticing your triggers, so having episodes when you’re not taking calls, you’re staying in the bed later, you are starting to get sick of you more and more and more, there’s no personal satisfaction, there’s a huge detachment from your own personal sense of purpose, and it sometimes can be more debilitating for people who tend to be strong, like there are functional alcoholics, there are people who are functionally emotionally impaired and continue to go to work every day.”
  • 5:46 – Tracie and Taraji wine time, discussing this week’s episodes 
    • On Tamar’s revealing chat and the common theme they have seen from both her and Gabrielle Union
      • Tracie: “Tamar, she was so raw and real and honest.”
      • Taraji: “And that’s who she is, for me it was good to see her be vulnerable.
      • Tracie: “And she said that she wanted to be seen.”
      • Taraji: “Going thing, Gabrielle [Union] said it, I say it all the time, humans just want to be seen!”
    • On the pressures of being a strong Black woman
      • Tracie: “Strong Black woman, we push down those feelings, of insecurity of not feeling worthy, or as beautiful, or vulnerability y’know.”
      • Taraji: “We’ve been taught, and we’ve learned how to push down and push through.”
      • Tracie: “Well guess what, we can’t do that.”
      • Taraji: “We can’t do that.”
      • Tracie: “And today we have arrived at: I am tired and I’m going to tell you so..let’s cheers to that!”

[Taraji and Tracie cheers glasses]

  • Taraji: “She set me free… no more!”

NEXT WEEK, during the holiday break, Taraji and Tracie discuss the timely topic of holiday isolation and despair, including an interview with Grammy-award winning singer and songwriter Mary J. Blige about how she is conquering her feelings of isolation this holiday season.

Peace of Mind with Taraji episodes drop every Monday and Wednesday at 9amPT/12pmET. Episodes can be found on facebook.com/Watch and Taraji P. Henson’s Facebook page: facebook.com/tarajiphenson 

source: Sharn Norman / BECK MEDIA & MARKETING

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