Gabrielle Union is opening up about being a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) survivor in a Mental Health Awareness Initiative with the Child Mind Institute

Union was diagnosed with PTSD at 19-years-old after being raped at gunpoint while working at Payless, a traumatic moment which she had previously addressed in her book We’re Going to Need More Wine. Although justice was served in the eyes of the court, for Union the legal victory did not make up for the effects that the heinous act imprinted on her life and mentality. Although now she is able to openly share her story with others, there was a time of crippling fear and anxiety that stopped her from living a "normal" life. 

"I didn’t want it to define my whole life, and it doesn’t have to. Asking for help, needing help doesn’t make you weak or less worthy of love or support or success. You can literally be anything you want to be. PTSD isn’t a death sentence," Union said in her #MyYoungerSelf video for the initiative. 

Union wants her experience and her life to show others suffering from this condition that they can still go on to be successful and lead enriching lives. Some days are harder than others, but Union reminds us that this is a part of being human. 

"You don’t have to be alone or feel isolated. There are so many of us out there who are dealing with exactly what you are dealing with, and it doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you anything but human. And we all have something. You might even become a successful actress and best-selling author and, I don’t know, be dope because that’s what you deserve."

In her book, Union says asking for help and talking about her experience outloud was her gateway to recovery. Therapy served as an outlet for her to regain her strength and get her life back on track. 

Throughout the month of May, The Child Mind Institute will be releasing other videos similar to Union’s from celebrities and advocates hoping to bring transparency and openness to different struggles that impact so many people on a daily basis. 

Watch Union’s campaign video below to hear her full message: 

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