AceShowbiz - Kerry Washington has got candid about her childhood in the new memoir "Thicker Than Water". The "Scandal" actress said she developed panic attacks when she was 7 as the result of overhearing her parents' fights at night.
In an excerpt published by "Oprah Daily" on Wednesday, August 9, the 46-year-old wrote, "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." She then compared the experience to "the sound of terror, wholly unnatural and unconnected to the rhythms of my heart."
"I was dizzied with terror, no ground beneath me; it was crazy-making, endless. And sad," the Emmy winner recounted. "There was something so sad about the rhythm. And I couldn't make it stop. I couldn't sleep. It was as though the alarms within me had been triggered and there was no turning them off."
Kerry also detailed how she tried to prevent the attack from coming. "Lying in bed, I would race to fall asleep before the sounds would leak from my bones. I would force myself to try to have 'good' thoughts," she explained.
"But 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," she further elaborated. "Sometimes I would put my head under a pillow, trying to ignore the fact that the torture was coming from within me. But only exhaustion would override the rhythm, lulling me to the dream state beyond my fears."
Eventually, Kerry felt she'd had enough of hearing her parents' arguments so she decided to interrupt them. "I went out into the living room and yelled, 'Stop! Please stop!' " she recalled, adding that it was only the second time she had ever seen her mother cry.
Kerry claimed she became "more private and withdrawn" after seeing her parents fighting. "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," she said. "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."
"After all, I was their dream come true," she continued. "If their personal failures had made it impossible for them to love themselves and each other, then I would be perfect enough so that they could experience whatever love they needed through me."