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.

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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. 

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

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