Gabrielle Union Feels “Exposed” While Managing Her PTSD During Quarantine

Union revealed what it's like to unpack her "baggage" with husband Dwayne Wade.

Warning: This article mentions rape, trauma, and PTSD.

In the premiere episode of Facebook Watch’s Peace of Mind with Taraji, Gabrielle Union said that managing her PTSD during the quarantine period has been a challenging experience. She explained to hosts Taraji P. Henson and Tracie Jade Jenkins that it’s been difficult to keep her trauma private and that she’s been pushed to “get to know her husband [Dwyane Wade]” in an entirely new and vulnerable way.

When Union was working at a Payless shoe store during the summer between her Freshman and Sophomore years of college at UCLA, she was raped at gunpoint. Her survivorship of this assault has never been a secret, and she’s opened up about her trauma with her fans and followers in an effort to reshape how society views rape survivors.

“For whatever reason, every time I talk about being a rape survivor, people are like [gasp] and then they forget,” she told Henson and Jenkins. “We are so conditioned that we know what someone looks like who has suffered from PTSD, we believe we know what rape victims look like and it’s not me.”

So, in going into her relationship with Wade in 2009, her trauma was always on the table—he was aware of it, as a fan, she said. But during this stay-at-home era, Union said, I just feel a little bit more naked, exposed.

“Because I am just on Zoom with the therapist and I can hear the household, and then the doors open…there is not enough space. And that kind of worries me sometimes,” she said. “You know when people are like, ‘You gotta keep the mystery about yourself. Don’t tell him everything.’ I’m like, ‘Well, shit then, the pandemic, you got the whole thing.'”

“I think it has been hard during the quarantine because we are in the same space,” Union explained. “I have not been home in any kind of consistent way since I have been an adult, so just getting to know my husband, which sounds crazy, I was like, ‘Oh, every day, every day you’re going to be here, okay ahh yeah I guess this is healthy.'”

“So you have to find out ‘Do you love me for all of…the baggage?'” she said, referring to the fact that Wade’s “awareness” of her PTSD has become more fleshed out in recent months. “You get worried that maybe you have revealed too much and you’re going to scare them away because damaged women aren’t supposed to be lovable.”

Union has been in therapy since she was 19, and her rapist was ultimately arrested and sentenced to 33 years in prison. And though she got justice in that sense, Union said she had a hard time seeing herself as nothing more than a “damaged” woman, calling the after effects in her 2017 book We’re Going to Need More Wine, an “infection you can’t treat.”

Though one never gets over a trauma-causing event, therapy and people waiting in the wings to help support you and encourage growth, like Wade, can make living with PTSD much more manageable.

Filed Under