By JUSTIN SOBELMAN
Continuing a movement that has seen a huge amount of growth in the past few months, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson became the latest prominent male figure to publicly share his experiences with depression.
Got tons of responses to this. Thank you. We all go thru the sludge/shit and depression never discriminates. Took me a long time to realize it but the key is to not be afraid to open up. Especially us dudes have a tendency to keep it in. You’re not alone
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) April 2, 2018
Johnson is one of the most famous celebrities in the world and one of the most beloved (and a University of Miami alum to boot). He’s also famously strong and muscular, playing the hardened, badass character in many of the movies in which he stars.
Some people may see this news and say, “Who cares? Boo hoo. A multimillionaire is crying on his yacht, am I supposed to feel bad?” This misses the point entirely. Mental health is not based on one’s bank account and despite what some may believe, celebrities have an enormous impact on the public, especially young people. Johnson is an activist, philanthropist, and general good guy, so there are worse options for kids to mimic.
What Johnson’s story does is continue the conversation, allowing mental health to be discussed openly and without shame, not something that gets bottled up and ignored. The fact that he is a man, and a non-white man at that, is even more important.
Generally, famous women are the ones who share their stories about battling mental health, and in movies and television its usually women who deal with these issues. Of course, that’s perfectly fine, but as Johnson says himself, men have more trouble discussing their emotions and mental states. The social norm is for men to not show their emotions, and women typically are much more emotionally healthy as a result. Johnson shows that you can be a tough guy and have emotions, they aren’t mutually exclusive.
You? You of all people had depression? Heh, well props for being able to keep it hidden away.
But, man, if The Rock of all people can have depression and still be The Rock, maybe I'm not doomed.
— Max Of Few Trades (@MaxOfFewTrades) April 2, 2018
DeMar DeRozan, the Toronto Raptors All-Star guard, really got the ball rolling when he opened up about his own ongoing battle with depression, and he expressed support for Johnson. If an NBA All-Star and a world-famous actor can thrive in their field even with depression, that helps others realize that you can still be successful while dealing with a mental health issue.
Many of the responses to Johnson were like the one displayed earlier, expressing surprise that Johnson dealt with depression and happiness that they weren’t alone. Many news outlets covered this story, which helps to spread Johnson’s message even further. Hopefully, guys like DeRozan and Johnson become the rule, not the exception, and help us move toward a future where we can talk about our problems and heal them, not just hide them and let them eat away from within.