The Rock Talks Depression Battle: I Was Crying Constantly

By Kelly Burch 04/04/18

"Struggle and pain is real. I was devastated and depressed. I reached a point where I didn't want to do a thing or go anywhere." 

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

Dwayne Johnson has made a career out of being the tough guy, whether he was dominating in the wrestling arena as The Rock or in the box office starring in films like Jumanji and Rampage.

However, that success hasn’t kept him from dealing with mental health issues, and he’s now speaking openly about his experience with depression. 

"Struggle and pain is real," Johnson told The Express. "I was devastated and depressed. I reached a point where I didn't want to do a thing or go anywhere. I was crying constantly.”

The conversation about Johnson’s mental health came about after he posted on Instagram about his family’s history with mental health battles. Johnson was filming a scene for his HBO series Ballers, in which his character visits the grave of his brother, who had died by suicide. Filming the scene was somber for Johnson, who helped his mother survive a suicide attempt when he was just 15. 

"Got me thinkin' though bout how many of us have been affected by suicide of our friends, family," Johnson wrote on his Instagram. "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.”

He wrote that while filming the scene was uncomfortable, he hopes it opens a conversation about mental health and suicide. 

“Shits of a scene to shoot - didn't like it - but it did reminder [sic] that we always gotta do our best to really pay attention when people are in pain.”

Speaking with The Express, Johnson said that dealing with the trauma of his mother’s suicide attempt took a toll on his own mental health. Later heartbreaks—including the derailment of his football career and a bad breakup—left him feeling especially vulnerable. “That was my absolute worst time,” he said. 

However, he said that both he and his mother were lucky that they were able to get the help they needed to overcome their mental health challenges. 

“We both healed but we’ve always got to do our best to pay attention when other people are in pain,” he said. “We have to help them through it and remind them they are not alone.” 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.