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Gabrielle Union says her PTSD can turn the Met Gala and other events into ‘pure agony’

Gabrielle Union says her PTSD can turn the Met Gala and other events into 'pure agony'
  • Gabrielle Union opened up about her PTSD and anxiety in an Instagram post on Tuesday. 
  • Union, 49, wrote her anxiety gets so bad it “shrinks” her life and makes events “pure agony.” 
  • Union is a sexual assault survivor who’s previously spoken about her experience. 

Gabrielle Union opened up about how her PTSD can make attending events “pure agony.” 

On Tuesday, the “Being Mary Jane” actress shared an Instagram post where she reflected on living with anxiety and panic attacks. The post included a short video of Union, 49, at the 2022 Met Gala with the phrases “me,” “my anxiety,” and “my triggers.” In May, Union attended the 2022 Met Gala alongside her husband, Dwyane Wade, wearing a shimmering Versace gown. 

A post shared by Gabrielle Union-Wade (@gabunion)

Union, 49, is a sexual assault survivor who’s spoken publicly about the incident and her experience.

“As a rape survivor, I have battled PTSD for 30 years. Living with anxiety and panic attacks all these years has never been easy,” Union wrote in the post. “There’s times the anxiety is so bad it shrinks my life.”

People can develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, according to the National Center for PTSD. Traumatic events, like sexual assault, can cause repeated thoughts of the assault, nightmares, and avoidance of thoughts, feelings, and situations related to the assault. For some, the stress is so severe it interrupts their daily activities.

According to The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), “the likelihood that a person suffers suicidal or depressive thoughts increases after sexual violence.” The nonprofit organization also reported that around 70% of sexual assault victims “experience moderate to severe distress, a larger percentage than for any other violent crime.”

Union continued, writing that everyday actions like leaving the house or making a left turn at an uncontrolled light can fill her with “terror.” 

“Anxiety can turn my anticipation about a party or fun event I’ve been excited about attending (Met Ball) into pure agony,” she wrote. “When we tell y’all what we are experiencing, please believe us the 1st time we mention it. No, it’s not like being nervous and everyone experiences and deals with anxiety differently, and that’s OK.” 

Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union at the 2022 Met Gala

Gabrielle Union said her PTSD can make events like the Met Gala “pure agony.”

Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

Union concluded by saying she doesn’t need anyone to “fix” her, but shared the post in hopes that “everyone living with anxiety knows they aren’t alone or ‘being extra.'”

Representatives for Union did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Union spoke in detail about her sexual assault in an excerpt from her 2017 memoir, “We’re Going to Need More Wine.” Glamour shared an excerpt of the memoir, in which Union said she was held at gunpoint at 19 by a man attempting to rob the Payless store she worked at.

“Twenty-four years later, fear still influences everything I do. I saw the devil up close, remember,” Union wrote. “You can figure out how to move through the world, but the idea of peace? In your soul? It doesn’t exist. I’m selective about who I allow into my life. I can spot people who make me feel anxious or fearful, and they are not welcome.”

In 2016, Union spoke out against director Nate Parker after he was accused of sexual assault. Union appeared in his film, “Birth of a Nation,” and responded in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times.

Gabrielle Union, Dwayne Wade 2022 Met Gala

Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade at the 2022 Met Gala.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

“I took this role because I related to the experience,” Union, whose character in the film experiences sexual assault, wrote. “I also wanted to give a voice to my character, who remains silent throughout the film.”

But following the allegations, Union said she couldn’t “take the allegations lightly.” 

“On that night, 17-odd years ago, did Nate have his date’s consent? It’s very possible he thought he did,” she wrote.