Taraji: ‘Is The Quest For The Perfect Selfie Causing Bulimia?’


Taraji P. Henson and co-host Tracie Jade break down the misconceptions and stigma surrounding bipolar disorder on Facebook Watch’s talk show, Peace Of Mind with Taraji.  The pair sat down with actress Gabourey Sidibe who shared her personal struggles with depression, anxiety and bulimia and how therapy has changed her life, and second guest Clara Jaide shared the story of how her experience being bullied in her predominantly white community as a child led to her depression and bulimia. On the  episode, Taraji and Tracie are joined by Dallas therapist Jay Barnett who breaks down why depression and bulimia are common in the Black community and offers tips and tools for those struggling to help cope.

Gabourey Sidibe and Janelle Monae strike a pose in a scene from Antebellum. Credit: Matt Kennedy/Lionsgate


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  • Title: Is the Quest for the Perfect Selfie Causing Bulimia?
  • Description: Why are depression and bulimia common in the Black community? Therapist Jay Barnett shares how bulimia is not a “white girl problem” and offers tips and tools to those struggling to help cope.


Key statistics addressed:

  • 60% of women only post what they think is a perfect photo. –Today.com
  • Most people of color don’t get help because they can’t find therapists who look like them – National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • Positive affirmations target specific subconscious beliefs through short, positive statements. – Brownback, Mason & Associates P.C.
  • Women are 10x more likely to suffer from bulimia than men. –McCallum Place Eating Disorder Centers


Some highlights from the episode include:

The group discusses the difference between anxiety and depression and how eating disorders arise as a result of these illnesses

    • Jay Barnett: Anxiety is chronic worries; it’s being here and wanting to be there. When you are dealing with depression, you’re dealing with sadness, a series of moments you feel are associated with your emotional disbelief and there is this distorted body image that I’ve associated with my size, with my look and with my appearance, that has caused the eating disorder.
    • Therapist Jay Barnett discusses how he approaches treatment for patients suffering from anxiety and/or depression in addition to an eating disorder
      • Jay Barnett: You definitely don’t combine the two, so we all know that depression and anxiety are just symptoms of a greater issue. So, what was the event that took place, and if you notice both of these girls [Gabourey Sidibe and Clara Jaide from our episode] were able to recall things, vivid memories… These young girls are dealing with a lot of images socially that ‘you have to look like this,’ and so if you don’t look like this, you won’t be accepted. This is what leads them down to the pattern of depression because you are chasing this image, it’s your thought about the image. That if I attain this look, I will be accepted. So, you have to retrain your brain all over.
      • The group discusses the importance of culturally competent therapists for the Black community
      • Jay Barnett: The main reason I wanted to become a therapist was because I didn’t see a Black therapist. I think the first time I went to therapy, and then the second time I went to therapy it was a Black guy, but he was more of a Christian counselor. My dad is a pastor so for me it felt like I was in church service, and I was just like bruh, I need some practical tools. And the white therapist couldn’t connect with the culture differences, while he understood the diagnosis, but he didn’t understand the social constructs that was associated with my issues. I felt led to go to school to become a therapist. Therapist Jay Barnett shares tools for how to cope with depression and Taraji shares how she manages her own depression.
        • Jay Barnett: For depression, you have to create space for light, because most people retreat to dark. Whether that light is opening up your blinds, whether that light is cracking a window, opening your door, or taking a walk because depression is like a beast, the more you feed it with those symptoms where you don’t eat or you lay in that bed, you’re just feeding that thing.
          • Taraji: And you go further and further [gestures down] oooooh. See the fighter in me won’t allow me to go that, so when I feel myself going there, but then I get to a point where it’s like ‘you’re better than this,’ and I come out swingin’ and that’s when I go to my salon and pretend like I know how to do hair and nails. I’m actually really good, but that’s another show.
          • Jay Barnett: “And I give these simple tools because it just starts with simple affirmations, you listen to yourself more than anybody. So, I think the first tool is really just self-affirmation and you can really couple that with self-love, self-appreciation, self-value. Now what I want you to do is to undo whatever negativity that you have in your mind about yourself, and I want you to replace that with something positive, because we are dealing with humans.