Dwayne Johnson is known for his motivational speeches, inspirational workouts and his fool proof smile. But the actor says his joy has come from living through a great misfortune: depression.
It all started at the age of 15, his family had just been evicted from their apartment. His mother then tried to commit suicide by jumping in front of a car on a busy US highway. Witnessing the whole thing, Johnson explains how ‘she got out of the car on Interstate 65 in Nashville and walked into oncoming traffic’. He said, ‘big rigs (trucks) and cars were swerving out of the way. I grabbed her and pulled her back on the gravel shoulder of the road’. Only he remembers the story; his mother has no recollection if it.
A broken football career
Destined for a future as an American football player, his career came to a premature halt. After getting Injured while playing for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League (CFL), his coach kicked him off the team. As if that wasn’t enough, almost simultaneously, his girlfriend decided to put an end to their relationship.
‘It was my worst time, the pain is real, I was devastated and depressed’. During this time, he spent most of his time at home doing nothing, except cleaning. When his former coach rang him to offer him his place back in the team, Johnson did the unexpected. He refused the offer and decided to take up a career in wrestling.
Not all alone
From all of these bouts of depression, Dwayne Johnson learned one important lesson which he expressed in a video on the Oprah Winfrey Network. ‘I found that with depression, one of the most important things that you could realise is that you’re not alone, you’re not the first to go through it and you’re not gonna’ be the last. And often at times, it happens, you feel alone, you feel like it’s only you and you’re in your bubble’.
‘I wish I had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and say hey, it’s gonna’ be ok. Just remember: hold on to that fundamental quality of faith, have faith and on the other side of that pain, is something good’.
A message full of hope
Depression affects everyone; it doesn’t discriminate and can happen at any time. If you or anyone you know, friends or family are going through a rough patch, just know that there are people ready to help. You’re not alone.
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