In an interview, Halle Berry talked about the devastation she felt when her then husband David Justice ended their marriage, leading her to consider suicide.
“I took my dogs, and I went in the garage and sat in the car. For two or three hours, I just cried and I cried. I thought ‘I can’t face it.’ I think that’s the weakest I have ever been in my life. That’s what the breakup of my marriage did to me.
“It took away my self-esteem. It beat me down to the lowest of lows — the gum on the bottom of David’s shoe, that’s what I felt like. Somewhere in my heart, I think I knew I didn’t really want to end my life. I just wanted to end the pain.”
Not long after, she went into therapy. “I know it sounds cliche,” she says, “but you have to find a way to hold on because time really does heal all wounds.”
[Ebony magazine interview by Laura B. Randolph, March, 1997]
[According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance site, major depressive disorder affects approximately 15 million adults in the U.S., or about 7 percent of the population age 18 and older in a given year, and women experience depression at twice the rate of men.]
Learning the lessons
In another interview [‘My Sights Are Set On Motherhood’ by Emily Listﬁeld, Parade.com April 1, 2007], she says with such painful experiences as her two marriages that ended, “I’ve developed into someone who takes responsibility for my choices. I’m able to say, ‘I chose it, I screwed it up, and it’s my bad. I’m not going to take an ounce of your blame or put any of mine on you.’
“It’s easier not to dwell on mistakes when you own them and learn the lesson. When I realized I had the power to change, it was eye-opening. It gave me a lot of hope.”
Breaking old habits
She continues, “I’ve been working to break old habits and change how I think about relationships. For a while, I couldn’t accept what I was doing to myself—that I needed drama. I think I’ve been so successful professionally because I always thought positively: ‘Sure, I’m going to make money. Sure, I’m going to work as an actress.’
“But in my personal life, I have a lot of fears and negative thoughts. My goal is to change my thinking from ‘I don’t want to be hurt, I don’t want to be cheated on’ to ‘I want someone honest.’”
She has sought the help of therapy throughout her life.
“As you get older, you realize you have a right to feel better,” she says. “I stink at 101 things—I stink at being told what to do. I stink at taking advice from other people. I stink at marriage,” she adds, laughing.
“But I know that I’ve developed really good communication skills, and that’s a big part of me evolving and learning how to be in the world.”
The value of counseling
The article notes that for the past year, Berry has been dating Gabriel Aubry, a male model 10 years her junior. “It’s a lot of fun,” she admits… I’ve accomplished things I never thought I would. Now my sights are set on a different chapter in my life, which is motherhood.”
And she emphasizes the value of counseling: “People still associate therapy with being crazy. But I think you’re crazy if you won’t consider going to get help for yourself—to learn the tools to deal with the problems in your life. Once people see what it is and what it’s not, they race to go back. They get the benefit. But it’s hard to get people to the first session because of fear.”
Related article: Performers and Depression.
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Mental Health – Emotional Health videos
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