Back in 2009, a study done by researchers at the University of Southern California found that despite the belief that bulimia only really impacts young white girls, Black girls were 50 percent more likely to become bulimic compared to their white counterparts. As much of a shocker as that might be, having the eating disorder has been a reality for many Black girls and women, including actress Gabourey Sidibe.
The Academy Award-nominated star is a guest in the upcoming episode of Taraji P. Henson’s Facebook Watch series, Peace of Mind with Taraji, set to air on Monday. During the episode, she talks about the way that she first found herself with the disorder, noting that it came about after she struggled for some time to deal with intense anxiety issues brought on by her parents’ breakup.
“Honestly, it wasn’t about, I mean yeah, I was a fat kid and a fat adult, surprise. And I, you know, I was made fun of like everyone else as a kid. But when I was in around third or fourth grade, my parents were splitting up. And the world was changing for me and it felt like the floor was being pulled away from me,” she said. “That’s how my anxiety sort of presented itself when I was a kid.
Sidibe went on to say she cried a lot during all levels of schooling because of her intense anxiety. But things became particularly hard as she was preparing for college.
“I would have to get to school early so I could really clean myself up because I would be sweaty, I would be crying, my clothes would genuinely be wet with my tears,” she said. “And one day I was crying so much and so hard I threw up. I just threw up. And the second I was done throwing up, my tear ducts dried. I wasn’t sweating anymore. I had stopped crying. And I thought, ‘I’ve found the button. This is it.'”
You can learn more about how Sidibe dealt with depression, anxiety, and bulimia growing up and the ways in which therapy changed her life when the new episode airs on Monday, January 25 at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET on Facebook Watch.