Why Taraji P. Henson Won't Turn on Jussie Smollett -- Talks Menopause, Mental Health
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"If I'm your friend, I can't judge you," Taraji states in reference to Jussie Smollett.

Taraji P. Henson won't turn her back on the flawed humans in her life.

Throughout her lengthy interview with Self, the actress spoke about not abandoning friends because of their failings.

"No one is perfect," she said in reference to her support of "Empire" co-stars Jussie Smollett (who was accused of staging a racist and homophobic attack on himself, which he denied) and Terrence Howard (who has a history of domestic violence allegations and controversial comments to his name).

"If I'm your friend, I can't judge you," she stated. "I just can't. I could do something, and I wouldn't want you to turn your back. We're humans. We're flawed. No one is perfect. I might not necessarily agree with everything, but I think every human deserves some form of humanity, some form of compassion."

When asked if whether standing by the aforementioned has had negative consequences for her, the actress replied, "I haven't really had any backlash. At the end of the day, I can love a person through their flaws, you know? People have had to love me through my flaws."

Meanwhile, Henson also spoke about how the political and social climate can affect one's mental health.

The actress said she was the "bubbly" "life of the party" until 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman in February 2012. Her son, Marcell Johnson, was close to Martin's age.

"That's when I noticed anxiety started kicking in," she told the magazine for its December cover, adding that it was in that moment she realized her own fame wouldn't be enough to protect him. "They're not going to [recognize] Taraji's son out here on these streets. It's me that is the star. He's not."

Henson explained her anxiety began manifesting itself through heart palpitations, sweating, nervousness, feeling helpless and racing thoughts. She also began to feel depressed, which she said was often "hard to climb up out of." But through prayer, meditation, her craft and a Black female therapist she met through "Empire" co-star Gabourey Sidibe, she's been able to cope with life's ups and downs.

At 49 years old, though, Henson's come to notice several changes in her well-being. After doing her own research and consulting her therapist, she realized she was going through menopause, which is diagnosed once a woman -- typically in her 40s or 50s -- has gone a year without menstruating.

"I would get so low, really, really low, beaten, like never before," she explained. "You may have those days [when] you're like, 'Oh, I just don't feel like getting out of bed. I just want to sleep in,' but you don't feel heavy. I was just starting to feel heavy a lot, [like] suffocating... It just came out of nowhere. I'm like, 'Well, you are pushing 50, girl. At some point things are going to change.'"

Her therapist, who Henson credits for helping her "manage" the mood swings that come with menopause, confirmed her suspicions, which she said made her "feel better."

Her advice to women dealing with similar circumstances? "Find you a group of women that are going through the same thing. Talk and laugh about it. If you sit on that toilet and you don't flush that shit, it's going to consume you."

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