Dwayne Johnson Shares What He Learned from His Battles With Depression: 'It Can't Be Fixed If You Keep That Pain Inside'

·3-min read

“At the time, I didn’t know what mental health was, I didn’t know what depression was. I just knew I didn’t wanna be there,” the actor said on The Pivot podcast

Dwayne Johnson is opening up about facing depression multiple times in his life.

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The Black Adam star, 50, appeared on Tuesday's episode of The Pivot podcast where he spoke about his mental health and recalled being "sent in a tailspin" when a shoulder injury ended his college football career at the University of Miami.

"My first battle with depression was down there in Miami. I didn't want to go to school, I was ready to leave. I left school. I didn't take any midterms and I just left," he explained on the show. "But the interesting thing at that time is, I just didn't know what it was. I didn't know what mental health was, I didn't know what depression was. I just knew I didn't wanna be there."

"I wasn't going to any of the team meetings, wasn't participating in anything, wasn't working out. And you know for us, as athletes, just any kind of sweat and getting it in will get that s— out of you. I couldn't do it because of my shoulder," the actor said.

"So at that time, that was a tough one for me and again, I didn't know what it was. Years later, I went through it again when I got a divorce — didn't know that it was," Johnson continued. "Years later, around 2017 or so, I went through it a little bit. Knew what it was at that time and luckily I had some friends that I could lean on and say, 'Hey, I'm feeling a little wobbly now. I got a little struggle happening, seeing a little grey and not the blue.'"

Johnson explained that the "saving grace" for his mental health has been his daughters — Tiana, 5, Jasmine, 7, and Simone, 21 — and being a "girl dad."

Related: Stars Who've Spoken Out About Their Mental Health Struggles

Related: Dwayne Johnson Says He 'Was Crying Constantly' During His Battle with Depression

On Friday, the Jungle Cruise actor shared part of the podcast appearance on his Instagram and sent an important message about seeking mental health care to his followers, specifically men.

"I've worked hard over the years to gain the emotional tools to work through any mental pain that may come to test me. But years ago I didn't know what mental health struggle was," he wrote. "As men, we didn't talk about it. We just kept our head down and worked through it. Not healthy but it's all we knew."

"If you're going through your own version of mental wellness turning into mental hell-ness, the most important thing you can do is talk to somebody," Johnson added. "It can't be fixed if you keep that pain inside. Having the courage to talk to someone is your superpower. I lost two friends to suicide. Talk to someone. Despite how you may feel, you're never alone."

Johnson has never been afraid to talk about his history with depression. Back in 2015, he first told the frightening story about watching his mother attempt suicide when he was 15 years old for OWN's Oprah's Master Class.

He also touched on the depression he felt at the age of 23 after he didn't make it into the NFL and was cut from the Canadian Football League, ending his dreams of playing professional football.

"I found that with depression one of the most important things you could realize is that you're not alone. You're not the first to go through it," he said at the time.

"I wish I had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and [say], 'Hey, it's going to be okay,'" he added.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.

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