Gabrielle Union on Being a Rape Survivor: 'I Have Battled PTSD for 30 Years'

Gabrielle Union shared a candid message about mental health and her PTSD after being sexually assaulted at 19 years old

Gabrielle Union attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA.
Photo: Ian West/PA Images via Getty

Gabrielle Union is getting candid about her day-to-day struggles with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The Being Mary Jane actress, 49, shared a video on Instagram and detailed issues with her mental health after being sexually assaulted when she was 19 years old.

"As a rape survivor, I have battled PTSD for 30 years," she wrote. "Living with anxiety and panic attacks all these years has never been easy. There's times the anxiety is so bad it shrinks my life. Leaving the house or making a left hand turn at an uncontrolled light can fill me with terror."

"Anxiety can turn my anticipation about a party or fun event I've been excited about attending (Met Ball) into pure agony," she added, sharing a video of herself standing on the red carpet at the 2022 Met Gala.

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"When we tell y'all what we are experiencing, please believe us the 1st time we mention it," the actress said. "No, it's not like being nervous and everyone experiences and deals with anxiety differently, and that's OK. I don't need you to try to 'fix' me."

Union continued, "I share this as I hope everyone living with anxiety knows they aren't alone or 'being extra.' I see you, I FEEL you and there is so much love for you. Always. Love and light good people. Be good to each other out there 🖤."

Gabrielle Union attends the premiere of Disney's "Cheaper By The Dozen" on March 16, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Gabrielle Union. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

Union previously discussed her PTSD in May 2018 for a social media campaign with The Child Mind Institute.

"I'm here to tell you that I am a PTSD survivor, thriver, bad ass m f—-er," Union said in a homemade video. "I was diagnosed with PTSD at 19 after I was raped at gunpoint — and I didn't let it stop me. 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."

She added, "You can literally be anything you want to be. PTSD isn't a death sentence. You don't have to be alone or feel isolated. There are so many of us out there who are feeling with exactly what you're dealing with and it doesn't make you weak. It doesn't make you anything but human."

Union also opened up about the "responsibility" she felt to tell her story of sexual assault so that other women feel comfortable and confident to stand up for themselves.

"Each time I tell the story is a revelation that I need to keep sharing since there's so many more victims than survivors," she told PEOPLE. "They need to know healing is a process — a slow process like moving a boulder uphill with one hand tied behind your back, but there is hope."

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