No one — not even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — is immune from depression. That’s the actor and former wrestler’s message to people suffering from mental illness, speaking during a video segment of Oprah’s Master Class.
In the video, 43-year-old Johnson describes his own experience battling the darkness in his 20s. After graduating from the University of Miami, Johnson was cut from the Calgary Stampedes, a Canadian Football League team and was passed over by the NFL. At 23, he moved back in with his parents and fell into depression — which he wasn’t able to overcome until he decided to quit football and try something new: get into the wrestling business.
“You just feel like you’re alone,” Johnson said in the video. “You feel like it’s only you. You’re in your bubble.”
It’s somewhat comforting to see the huge, strong man who “ain’t got time to bleed” open up about emotional pain and mental illness — helping to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. Stereotypes often paint depressed people as weak, pathetic, or useless, but Johnson shows that’s certainly not the case — and it’s important to reach out for help, even though that might be especially difficult for alpha males like him.
The Rock offers some words of advice to others out there suffering from depression, noting that the most important thing is to “hold onto that fundamental quality of faith.”
“I found that, with depression, one of the most important things you could realize is that you’re not alone,” Johnson said in the video. “You’re not the first to go through it; you’re not going to be the last to go through it. … I wish I had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and [say], ‘Hey, it’s gonna be OK. It’ll be OK.”
He reminds people to “have faith that on the other side of your pain is something good.”