The 49-year-old actress is mother to 25-year-old Marcell Johnson, and she has admitted that raising her son in America under the threat of racial hatred and violence has caused her to develop anxiety, especially following the 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was a similar age to her son.
She said: “All my life I've been bubbly and the life of the party. Things started to shift for me when Trayvon Martin - when that happened. That's when I noticed anxiety started kicking in.”
And the ‘Empire’ star worried that her fame wouldn’t be able to protect Marcell, because people don’t know who he is.
She added: “They’re not going to [recognise] Taraji's son out here on these streets. It’s me that is the star. He's not.”
Taraji also suffers from depression, and began to notice the symptoms when she started having “mood swings”.
She explained: “I noticed the mood swings, like, you know, one day I would be up and the next day I would be down, feeling like I don’t want to go out in public, almost agoraphobic.
“There would be days when my brain wouldn’t stop racing with the worst scenarios in the world, which would heighten my anxiety. There was no shame when I started to recognise it. It was like, ‘I have to get some help,’ because I’m the life of the party and when I go dark, I go dark. I don’t want to leave the house.”
The ‘What Men Want’ star began to see a therapist soon after recognising the symptoms herself, and says she’s so pleased to have found someone who helps her tackle her “specific issues”.
In a new interview for Self magazine, she said: “When you find that right person, oh my God, the sky cracks open. It was extremely important for me to find a therapist who is a black woman, just because black women live in a different world than everyone else. Our problems, daily interactions, and expectations are different than most other people, so I wanted a therapist who I could cut through the societal foundation of who I am with, so that we could get to my specific issues.”