This week, Taraji and Tracie are addressing holiday despair and isolation, especially during the pandemic. On Monday’s episode, Mary J. Blige shared how she is conquering her feelings of isolation and on today’s episode, Dr. Akilah Reynolds joins the pair to discuss telling the difference between holiday blues and real depression and how to find a little joy this holiday season. Plus, Taraji and Tracie share how former guests Gabrielle Union and Tamar Braxton are planning on dealing with the holidays this year.
- Title: Holiday Despair or Something More Serious
- Description: How to tell if you’re experiencing real depression or just holiday blues with Dr. Akilah Reynolds. Dr. Reynolds will also help us find a little joy and Peace of Mind this holiday season despite feelings of isolation and despair.
Some highlights from the episode include:
- 0:42 – Dr. Akilah Reynolds on what brings on the holiday blues
- Taraji: “What is about the winter holidays that bring the holiday blues?”
- Dr. Akilah Reynolds: “So I think that for a lot of people, family comes up, Christmas trees, dinners, big celebrations, this feeling of togetherness where everything is perfect and you have all the gifts under your tree and I feel like that just builds up these very high expectations and your togetherness is not really there, that you don’t have family to be around, that you don’t have money for all these Christmas gifts, that I think can lead to people feeling really sad, really down.I’ve had people who were planning to go and see some family members, and then last minute just felt like, this COVID thing is really really unsafe and those have been really difficult conversations that I have had to have with people and I think it all connects a lot of us because many of us are in a similar or the same boat.”
- 1:26 – How to tell the difference between seasonal depression and something that might be longer term
- Tracie: “How can we tell the difference between seasonal depression and something that is long term?”
- Dr. Akilah Reynolds: “So if you just feel like a little down, you know you aren’t feeling like yourself, it’s a low level, then you might just have a seasonal feeling of holiday blues, but when you are thinking about two weeks or more and you are having these very intense feelings where you are feeling really sad, really down, more days than not, these are all signs that it is a lot more intense and you might want to seek support.”
- 2:06 – Taraji discusses what her first Christmas was like after her father passed away and what it will look like for her this year
- Dr. Akilah Reynolds: “The version that Hollywood paints is that family life is all great, it’s fun around the holidays, but the reality for many people is that it doesn’t always look like that and then also dealing with a loss or someone not being there who you really love [Dr. Akilah referring to the instance of loss or death of a loved one].”
- Taraji: “I remember the first year my father passed, and I remember the first holiday season without him, it just felt weird, usually where I go Christmas is to my Dad’s house and the plus side was, I had my family and we could grieve together, we could talk about his stories, and that kind of helped us deal. It’s going to be interesting this year because I can’t get to my family, and that’s usually where I go Christmas, is to my Dad’s house and can’t go this year, and so I don’t feel anything yet, but you know how it is, the days start ticking and then it comes down on you.”
- 3:16 – Dr. Akilah shares some tools to help deal with grief around the holiday season
- Dr. Akilah Reynolds: “Sometimes I find that when we deal with death, like right after you’re just going through the motions, one of the things I find, that for some people is helpful, the idea of just being still, and sometimes when you shut out all the chatter, and you just allow yourself to like just be in the moment, then those feelings might come up.”
- Taraji: “Healing is on the other side of acceptance.”
- 3:45 – Dr. Akilah Reynolds on how to stay connected during this time
- Dr. Akilah Reynolds: “My advice for everyone is to really think about what matters to you, there’s this sense of sisterhood that all y’all have, and I would say cling to that.”
- Taraji: “That’s going to be hard to do for people that are isolated.”
- Dr. Akilah Reynolds: “I definitely encourage the use of technology, it’s what we have, I’ve had a Zoom engagement party, I’ve had a Zoom birthday party for my Daddy, I’ve had a Zoom baby shower for one of my best friends, it’s not necessarily the same but for right now it does give you this sense of joy and peace and togetherness.”
- 4:26 – Dr. Akilah Reynolds on America’s loneliness epidemic, before and during the pandemic
- Dr. Akilah Reynolds: “Before the pandemic, researchers were saying that America had a loneliness epidemic, that 2 out of 5 people were reporting that even though they had relationships, they weren’t really that meaningful, and 1 out of 5 people were actually reporting feeling socially isolated and alone. Now if you bring it to current day with the pandemic, 20% of people are saying that they feel lonelier than they did before, and for millennials that’s 34%, so the first time you are alone for the holidays or the first time you are without a partner or a loved one, that’s just going to be hard probably.”
- 7:45 – Taraji and Tracie share how former guests Gabrielle Union and Tamar Braxton are planning on dealing with the holidays
- Gabrielle Union: [CLIP] “It’s funny because somebody asked me, what are your holiday traditions and how are they changing? I’m like we didn’t really have them to begin with, because we work over the holidays. D (husband Dwyane Wade) always played over the holidays, so we might have Thanksgiving on a Saturday or Christmas on the 27th, it’s never been like a whole thing…but the thing that we have always had, my Mom and my older sister started it, we would always listen to the original Broadway cast album of Dreamgirls and fight over who got to be Deena Jones, we still do it, D (husband Dwyane Wade) had to learn it, and he was like ‘If I’ve gotta learn all this, we are also adding Hamilton’ so we have been listening to Dreamgirls and then Hamilton, the original Broadway cast album, though we all also welcome the Ja Rule and Ashanti version of ‘Satisfied’ on the remix of Hamilton and then we have a glazed ham and that is all we have for traditions.”
- Tamar Braxton: [CLIP] “First of all I feel robbed because I am Mrs. Christmas, I’m second to Mariah (Carey) I feel like [laughs] I am the festive… I love it, so I’m heartbroken that that’s not going to be the case, ain’t no Christmas party ‘no, thank you’ there is none of that this year, but I’m grateful because it gives me more time to check in on my baby, just he and I, like I am a firm believer now that God gives us what we need.”
- Taraji: “I’m grateful that my best friend [hugs Tracie] is out here in California with me, and my Goddaughter is here and although I can’t see my biological family, I have my close family, my family that I chose, because you can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends.”
- Tracie: “Here’s to the healthy holidays and new traditions.”10:26 – Taraji on what she is grateful for this holidaysPeace of Mind with Taraji, Golden Globe Award-Winning
Actress Taraji P. Henson and her best friend and co-host Tracie Jade shine a spotlight on the challenging mental health issues facing us today – particularly of those in the Black community. Through personal interviews with both celebrities, experts and everyday people, the series shows how to provide support, bring awareness and help eliminate the stigmas of mental health issues.
Guests this season will include actress and best-selling author Gabrielle Union on her experience with PTSD, singer and television personality Tamar Braxton on the damaging pressure of being a strong Black woman and not seeking help, Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Mary J. Blige on holiday despair and isolation, stand-up comedian and actor Jay Pharoah on police brutality and cultural competency, in addition to topics such bipolar disorder, grief after death without warning and more.