Gabourey Sidibe Reflects On Depression, Suicidal Thoughts In New Memoir

By Victoria Kim 05/05/17

Sidibe details her battle with depression, bulimia and suicidal ideation in her new book.

Gabourey Sidibe

Actress Gabourey Sidibe has been to hell and back, wrestling her demons to the point where fighting suicidal thoughts became a daily battle. 

These days, the Academy Award-nominated actress is in a much better place, having come to terms with her crippling depression and eating disorder. “I just accepted depression as something that’s part of my anatomy; it’s part of my chemistry, it’s part of my biology,” she told People magazine. “[But] when it’s too big for me to just turn around on my own, I see a therapist.”

Sidibe, best known for her breakout role in the 2009 film Precious as well as the popular TV dramas American Horror Story and Empire, gave a glimpse of what life was like before she found some relief in a four-minute excerpt from her new memoir This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare.

“I couldn’t tell [my mom] that I couldn’t stop crying and that I hated everything about myself,” Sidibe reads from her memoir. “When I was sad about something, she told me to get a thicker skin. When I was upset, she told me to stop nitpicking. My mom has always had faith that things would be okay. But saying ‘Tomorrow will be a better day’ wasn’t enough for me.”

With nowhere to turn, Sidibe sat alone with her depression. “So I just kept thinking my sad thoughts. Thoughts about dying. I couldn’t sleep at night.”

At the time, she was a student at the City College of New York. She described having panic attacks on a daily basis by the time she’d arrive at school every morning. She stopped eating “for days at a time” and found comfort in forcing herself to vomit. 

“Often, when I was too sad to stop crying, I drank a glass of water and ate a slice of bread, and then I threw it up,” she reads. “After I did, I wasn’t as sad anymore. I finally relaxed.” She said this was a welcome distraction from the thoughts in her head. “I was a real joy to be around,” she mused.

Finally, she sought professional help. “I found a doctor and told her everything that was wrong with me. I’d never run down the entire list before, but as I heard myself, I could sense that dealing with this on my own was definitely no longer an option.”

“I wasn’t afraid to die,” she reads. “And if there was a button I could have pushed to erase my existence from Earth, I would have pushed it, because it would have been easier, and less messy, than offing myself.

She was put on an anti-depressant and began attending Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). She says she now has the tools to cope with negative thoughts and feelings. 

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr