Sanaa Lathan Reveals Bout With PTSD And Why She Refused Prescribed Antidepressants

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Sanaa Lathan has truly been Queen of balancing it all.

Sanaa has been working since the 90s and her career hasn't slowed down in momentum since, with her latest projects including season 4 of Showtime's hit The Affair and her new role in the upcoming Netflix original Nappily Ever After. The latter of which caused her to shave her head for her role, making the 46-year-old actress even finer in the process.

In her recent cover story with Health Magazine, Sanaa opened up about dealing with PTSD and panic attacks, taking social media sabbaticals, and of course, infamously embracing being bald, bold, and beautiful.

According to Sanaa, meditation has been a saving grace for her. Although it might seem like the buzzword of the moment, meditation has a host of self-care benefits, especially when combating psychological and emotional traumas. Sanaa revealed that the death of her best friend four years ago left her with very real emotional and mental side effects, like panic attacks and PTSD. Meditation became her light at the end of the tunnel:

One of the biggest changes in my life is that I meditate every day. Four years ago, my best friend died. She got the flu, and four days later she went to the doctor and soon after she was just gone. It was so devastating to me. I had a weird kind of PTSD, because she was healthier than me. I started getting panic attacks. Before that, I didn't think they were a real thing. I remember my girlfriend having them, and I was like, "Girl, just breathe," you know? "Just relax."
I was getting them three to five times a day. They wanted to put me on anti-anxiety medication, but I was like, "I really don't wanna take drugs, that's just not me." I'd had a meditation teacher a couple years before, so she gave me a refresher course. The day that I started Transcendental Meditation, it was as if I was taking a pill. They went away. So anyway, that's my thing. I meditate 20 minutes, twice a day.

Along the pathway of Sanaa's journey to glow up and the pursuit of her happiness, she also credits social media breaks. While happiness is one of the main goals when it comes to self-care, it does takes work. No matter how carefully curated our social media feeds are, more often than not, there is something on our timeline that can easily throw us off of our positivity-only game. Nowadays while everyone else is succumbing to the comparison game on a daily basis, Sanaa has learned when to say, "Nah."

But you know what is a real happiness killer? Social media. I don't think it's healthy for humans to constantly compare themselves. By nature, even if you see someone who you adore and they're in Fiji, automatically you go, "Well, damn, I'm here." I think the key to happiness is keeping your eyes on your path. Rarely are you going on [social media] and [thinking], "Ooh, I'm happy!" It's always a shift toward a darker emotion. So I have to take social media breaks.

Last September, Sanaa wowed the world when she appeared on The Gram with a completely buzzed head. Having shaved her head for her upcoming role in the Netflix adaptation Nappily Ever After, she reveals that doing so was indeed scary but also incredibly cathartic:

It was terrifying! But to me, it's so much a part of her journey. My character is in crisis, and everything that she thought she knew is unraveling. So the emotions were all over the place for me—because I'm playing Violet, but I'm also shaving my head! It was actually really powerful and kind of weirdly cathartic and freeing. You know, I was crying, I was laughing…

Sanaa also sees the cut as a powerful way of owning who she is as a woman of color:

It was kind of a perfect time in my life to do it. I have a lot of hair, and it's thick. I was just so over it. If I got it straightened and then I worked out, it would go right back into the original—the Afro. And I couldn't do braids for a week; they'd get frizzy. My girlfriends would even be like, "Why aren't you doing anything with your hair? You look crazy!" So in terms of me being lazy, it's just so easy. [It feels like this is time] in terms of women of color coming into this amazing renaissance of owning who they are, and owning all of their beauty in whatever shape, size, color it is. There's no more cookie-cutter, like, "This is the ideal."

Nappily Ever After is about a woman learning to love herself and find her own acceptance outside of the arms of a man. She not only connected to the role because of her being bald, but also as a 46-year-old single woman who also finds fulfillment in loving oneself:

It's kind of [the message] you'll see in Nappily Ever After—saying, "You know what? I'm whole already. I don't need somebody to complete me." So if there is that person who is a partner out there, then bring it on. But I'm not gonna be with somebody for the sake of what it looks like.

You tell 'em, Sanaa! Say no to fake love and hello to self-love in 2018, ladies.

Be sure to check out the rest of Sanaa's cover story in Health Magazine, tune into Showtime's The Affair on June 17, and catch Nappily Ever After on Netflix when it drops in the fall.

Featured image via DFree / Shutterstock.com

It was December of 2009 that I made an impromptu decision to cut my permed hair off. My reason for making that drastic change was due to ending a dating relationship at the time and the painful experience I went through from relaxing my hair in my dorm a couple of months prior. Cutting my hair immediately left me feeling bold yet boy-ish whenever I found myself dressing down or not wearing lavish earrings. After several months experimenting with wearing twist-outs, dyeing it myself (I was extra bold with that) and even getting my first blowout (that later resulted in heat damage), I thought I'd been hiding my beautiful kinks due to laziness.

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