Kerry Washington is candid about the dark moments of her life. The ‘Scandal’ actress shared some insights about the long-hidden traumas of her childhood in her recent memoir Thicker Than Water. As per the excerpt published by Oprah Daily, the actress recalled having a panic attack at the age of 7 because of her parents’ ongoing marital troubles.
Kerry Washington said she developed panic attacks at night during her childhood
The actress said about her parents in her memoir, “From what I remember, most of my parents’ fights were about money, and about the fact that neither of them felt like they were in the marriage they wanted to be in, or more precisely, that they were married to the person they wanted to be married to.”
Moreover, she recalled that her parents” both harbored deep disappointment over what their lives had become” and shouted at each other. “We pretended to ourselves, to each other, and to the outside world that our family was not suffering the pain of life’s disappointments,” Washington recalled.
Later on, she shared her experience of having panic attacks as a consequence of the ongoing problem between her parents, “As a young child, I would lie in bed and listen for signs of how serious each battle was and when it might come to an end… I developed panic attacks at night.”
“They manifested first as a rhythm of anxiety that encircled my brain, then evolved into a rapid pulsing, a whirling frenzy of metallic thumps, like those nauseating old spinning rides at a county fair,” the actress recalls. “It was the sound of terror, wholly unnatural and unconnected to the rhythms of my heart. I was dizzied with terror, no ground beneath me.”
Therefore, she writes about the experience, “Even on peaceful nights, I trembled at the possibility of it. Sometimes, I would rock my body back and forth, vibrating, rattling, trying to drown out the pulsing noise and regain control of my body.”
However, she eventually pours her emotions out during a loud argument of parents. As she writes, “Watching me enter the stage in the middle of their war was a final stab at my mother’s already wounded dreams. What she had dreamed of was a happy family. In her mind, she was supposed to be a successful working mother with a loving husband. She was supposed to have 2.5 kids, a couple of nice cars, and a schedule filled with service to her community and her family. She had wanted to create a world that was different from the one she grew up in… and she was failing. Looking back, I think my mother was trapped in the fun-house version of her dream, an upside-down reality filled with anger, fear, and resentment.”
She added, “I became more private and withdrawn. I resolved to stay in my room at night while the dreaded internal pulse of the rhythm terrorized me to sleep. My parents’ battles were minor in comparison to the one that was raging within me. My mind and body became the enemy; I was trapped within them.”
The 46-year-old penned, “I tucked away the fear and started to develop a role, a character that would stay with me: The good girl. The perfect child. The solution, It was clear that my parents had lost their ability to express their love for each other, but perhaps a shared love for me could help them find it again.”
Washington’s memoir Thicker Than Water will be released on September 26.