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The Rock on Depression: ‘You’ve Got to Talk About It, and You’re Not Alone’

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The struggle with depression is a brutal one. This serious mood disorder comes with a sense of hopelessness and emptiness that can negatively impact daily life. It can keep a person from work, food, bathing, and sleep. It can make even the most exciting activities seem dull and meaningless. But, despite the fact that depression is one of the most common mental disorders throughout the United States, there is still so much stigma surrounding it today. Thankfully, people all over the world are sharing their personal struggles with depression as an attempt to normalize the condition and help others who may be suffering. One of these spokesmen is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. (1)

Depression Never Discriminates

Such a strong and seemingly undefeatable character such as The Rock may seem the least likely to struggle with something as debilitating as depression. But, as Johnson said himself on Twitter, “depression never discriminates”. The actor and former world wrestling champion revealed that his struggle with depression and suicide began in his teen years. (2)

When Johnson was 15 years old his mother tried to commit suicide. “She got outta the car on Interstate 65 in Nashville and walked into oncoming traffic,” he shared last year on Instagram. “Big rigs and cars swerving outta the way not to hit her. I grabbed her and pulled her back on the gravel shoulder of the road.” While this must have been a traumatizing experience for the whole family, Johnson now sees it as an opportunity to show empathy toward others. He reassures, “Struggle and pain is real. We’ve all been there on some level or another.” (3)

The Rock’s Personal Struggle with Depression

Later on in his life, Johnson became familiar with depression on a personal level. “I reached a point where I didn’t want to do a thing or go anywhere,” he shared. “I was crying constantly.” Before his acting or wrestling days, Johnson’s dream was to play professional football. However, although he did sign with the Canadian Football League, they let him go within the year due to his college football injuries. Also during this time, Johnson was going through a break-up. “That was my absolute worst time,” he said. Johnson confessed that if he hadn’t found the inner strength to move forward he believes he could have become suicidal as well. (4)

Advice From The Rock

Johnson compares fighting depression to battling a beast. And those who have gone through it would most likely agree. But there is a way out of despair. Drawing from his own experience and struggles, Johnson offers some advice. (4)

  1. Open Up to Those Around You. Often when experiencing depression, the last thing you feel like doing is talking about it. But Johnson says that this is vital. “ Took me a long time to realize it but the key is to not be afraid to open up,” he urges. “Especially us dudes have a tendency to keep it in.” Confiding in a trusted friend or relative can provide relief and support during the dark times. (2)
  2. Reach Out to Others. Sometimes we become so busy with life that we don’t stop to recognize when someone we love is struggling. “We’ve always got to do our best to pay attention when other people are in pain,” Johnson advises. “We have to help them through it and remind them they are not alone.” You hope that your friends and family will come to you when they need help, but we also need to do our part in looking out for them. (3)
  3. Share Your Story. Most people who struggle with depression feel incredibly alone. This is why it’s so important to speak out. “You gotta talk about it,” Johnson pleads. “You’re not alone.” You may feel like the only one going through something so difficult, but you may be surprised how many people around you are currently going through something similar. Finding the courage to share your story could help others and yourself more than you know. (5)

There Is Happiness Along the Way  

The worst part about depression is the feeling that it will never end. Don’t give in to this lie. For some, it will be a lifetime struggle, but I promise you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, loved ones to help you through it, and happiness along the way. Don’t give up. Seek support and keep pushing through it, and with time things are going to be okay.

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Emilyn Gil

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