It's impossible to dislike Dwayne Johnson. The former wrestler is one of Hollywood's biggest stars, appearing in movies such as The Scorpion King and the Fast and the Furious franchise. As a person, his enthusiasm is infectious and he possesses a rare humility and appreciation of his fans and fame.
Although things haven't been easy for Dwayne, when speaking candidly on Oprah's Master Class, the 43-year-old discussed a period in his life where he suffered from depression, which left him feeling alone and isolated.
The hardest thing is asking for help
“I found that with depression one of the most important things you could realize is that you’re not alone.
"I wish I had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and [say], ‘Hey, it’s going to be okay.'"
Depression is debilitating and often misunderstood. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma surrounding mental illness, in addition to a lack of understanding. The more it's spoken about in the public realm, the better.
In particular, men find it notoriously difficult speaking out. Having a public personality like the Rock speak openly about his own battle is hugely important. It sends a positive message that it is okay, it's an illness and if can affect anyone, rich or poor.
Dwayne highlighted this in a response to a Doctor on Twitter who had thanked him for speaking out:
"The worst mistake you'll ever make"
Dwayne's struggle happened around the age of 23. He'd been rejected by the NFL, was living at home with his parents, and his future was uncertain. It was around this time he decided he wanted to follow in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather, who were both professional wrestlers.
Despite his father telling him it was "the worst mistake you'll ever make," he persisted. The rest, as they say, is history. He reflects on this during the interview:
“[My dad said], ‘You are throwing it all away. It is the worst mistake you will ever make. You’re ruining your career.'
"I said, ‘Maybe I’ll be no good, but I feel like, in my heart, I have to do this.'”
Testament to his attitude toward dealing with setbacks, his wrestling persona actually came about after fans mocked his original name -- Rocky Maivia. By taking ownership of negative chants, such as "Rocky Sucks," Dwayne adopted the stage name of "The Rock" and went on to become one of the industry's most successful stars ever.
The former Wrestler has a habit of providing nuggets of inspiration, and his reflection on his early career choices hold true:
“The greatest lesson about that is: Be you.”
Even if by speaking out he helps just one person seek support, then it's all worth it.
Keep being you, Dwayne!