Speaking on her Facebook Watch series, Peace of Mind with Taraji, the actress said that she had thoughts of wanting to take her own life.
“For a couple of days, I couldn’t get out of the bed, I didn’t care. That’s not me,” the 50-year-old Oscar nominee said in a conversation with co-host Tracie Jade and licensed psychologist Dr. LaShonda Green.
“Then, I started having thoughts about ending it,” Henson continued, explaining that she had recently purchased a gun and thought, “‘I could go in there right now, and just end it all.'”
Henson said she even thought about how her death would affect her son, Marcell Johnson, and remembered thinking, “‘He’s grown, he’ll get over it.'”
The Empire star said that after two nights of those thoughts, she knew she had to tell someone about it.
“I felt myself withdrawing. 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,'” Henson said, adding that “part of” her felt “ashamed.”
“I was like, I don’t want them to think I’m crazy,” she said. “I don’t want them to, you know, obsess over me or think they gotta come and sit on me.”
“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,'” Henson said, taking a big breath and then adding, “‘Oh my god, I feel so much better. I’m not gonna do it now.'”
Henson said that opening up about her thoughts helped her overcome them.
“For me, I’m no professional, but I felt like, if I don’t say it, it becomes a plan,” Henson said. “And what scared me, is 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 and getting the gun. And that’s why when I woke up the next morning, and 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.”
Green reassured Henson that having unhealthy thoughts sometimes is “absolutely normal,” adding that opening up can be a cathartic experience.
The Hidden Figures star added to the outlet that turning 50 in September helped her regain a positive outlook.
“I felt myself slipping and so I was like, ‘You know what I am not going to do is let 50 happen to me,” she said. “I am going to get control of this mentally and not be like, ‘You are getting old, don’t nobody care, you ain’t working,’ Well, duh, no one is working, it is COVID. So I felt that coming.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.