In an excerpt published by Oprah Daily from her forthcoming memoir titled Thicker Than Water, Kerry Washington detailed the harrowing experience of suffering panic attacks when she was just seven years old. The Scandal star said these attacks came in response to her parents fighting 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,” Washington wrote.
Despite trying to “turn her brain off,” when she felt an attack coming on, the Little Fires Everywhere star shared that she didn’t have control. “It would take hold in my fascia, then work outward through my muscles and tendons. Sometimes, I would rock my body back and forth, vibrating, rattling, trying to drown out the pulsing noise and regain control of my body.”
One night, Washington couldn’t take the sound of her parents fighting anymore. “I went out into the living room and yelled, ‘Stop! Please stop!'” The UnPrisoned actress said that this was only the second time she saw her mother cry.