Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson typically plays action heroes and comedic characters on the big screen, but this week, he took on a different, more personal role: Mental health advocate.
In an interview with the UK's Express, Johnson opened up about his decades-long battle with depression, as well as his desire to assure any fans that are also struggling that they are "not alone." According to the actor, his depression began back in the mid-'90s, when he was cut from the Canadian Football League. Shortly after, his girlfriend broke up with him.
"That was my absolute worst time," he told the Express, adding, "I reached a point where I didn't want to do a thing or go anywhere. I was crying constantly."
Johnson also discussed his mother, Ata, and her own struggle with depression, which led her to attempt suicide right in front of him when he was 15. The actor previously touched on that harrowing experience in an Instagram post back in February, writing:
She got outta the car on Interstate 65 in Nashville and walked into oncoming traffic. 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.
What's crazy about that suicide attempt is to this day, she has no recollection of it whatsoever. Probably best she doesn't.
Not your typical scene on our comedy #ballers, as I cracked a beer open toasting my character's brother, William who committed suicide. Got me thinkin' though bout how many of us have been affected by suicide of our friends, family. Struggle and pain is real. We've all been there on some level or another. My mom tried to check out when I was 15. She got outta the car on Interstate 65 in Nashville and walked into oncoming traffic. 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. What's crazy about that suicide attempt is to this day, she has no recollection of it whatsoever. Probably best she doesn't. Shits of a scene to shoot - didn't like it - but it did reminder that we always gotta do our best to really pay attention when people are in pain. Help 'em thru it, get 'em talkin' about the struggle and remind 'em that they're not alone. We got lucky that day when I was 15 and that ain't always the case.
Speaking with the Express about that incident, Johnson said, "We both healed but we've always got to do our best to pay attention when other people are in pain. We have to help them through it and remind them they are not alone."
In a follow-up post on Twitter, Johnson thanked fans for their support, and reminded followers that "depression never discriminates" and that it's important to "not be afraid to open up" about it. The message struck an immediate chord.
Got tons of responses to this. Thank you. We all go thru the sludge/shit and depression never discriminates. Took me a long time to realize it but the key is to not be afraid to open up. Especially us dudes have a tendency to keep it in. You're not alone— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) April 2, 2018
@TheRock Thank you for talking about depression openly, I know it will help a lot of people to see someone so confident that also had issues with it— Lonesamurai (@RealLonesamurai) April 2, 2018
Hey man I get it. We all go thru the sludge and shit. Stay strong and make sure you're talking to good people about it. Us men have a tendency to hold it in. No shame in getting help and wanting to be better.— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) April 2, 2018
Kudos to Johnson for being so honest about his personal struggles, and hopefully providing some inspiration to those who need it.