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The Rock Reveals Struggles with Lifelong Depression: "As Men, We Didn’t Talk About It"

The former WWE Superstar and current onscreen sensation recently opened up on a podcast appearance.

By Chris Phelan
Wwe The Rock Mental Health3

The Rock has maintained legendary status for decades in the eyes of the WWE Universe – but now it looks like he’s a legend in the eyes of the millions worldwide suffering from depression and anxiety.

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Earlier this week, The Rock appeared on The Pivot Podcast, and no topic was off-limits for the multi-time WWE Champion. While he grabbed headlines a few days ago by crediting the pro wrestling industry for saving his relationship with his daughter, The Rock is back in the news today by opening up about his struggles with depression dating back to his college years. It was an extensive and eye-opening moment for The Rock, and he wasn’t shy about expressing his emotions on the podcast.

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The Rock Has Suffered Depression Three Times in His Life

“I’ve gone through two, three bouts of depression over the course of years, and the football one for me was a big one,” The Rock admitted.

Going through such anxiety while in college had to be challenging, especially considering The Rock didn’t know what depression was at the time. 

“My first bout of depression was down there in Miami,” he confessed. “I didn’t want to go to school. I was ready to leave,” he said. “I left school. I didn’t take any midterms and I just left. 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 want to be there. Wasn’t going to any of the team meetings. Wasn’t participating in anything. I wasn’t working out.”

The Rock admitted he had trouble focusing on precisely what was causing his inner turmoil. However, a complete shoulder reconstruction surgery was cited as a possible reason for going down a rabbit hole of despair. Nevertheless, in true Rock fashion, he battled forward – although he admitted he didn’t strictly address his mental health issues at the time.

He then recounted that he suffered his second bout of depression shortly after his divorce from his longtime wife Dany Garcia, in 2008. After successfully fighting off his demons again, he found himself battling once more in 2017 – but this time, it was different. The Rock said he was able to identify it as depression, and he had a perfect support system to help with his recovery:

“Luckily, at that time, I had some friends who I could lean on and say, ‘You know, I’m feeling a little wobbly now. Got a little struggle happening. I’m seeing a little gray and not the blue.’”

The Rock Is Happy and Healthy In 2023

By his own accord, the WWE Universe will be happy to know that The Rock is happy and healthy in 2023 – but he still stresses the importance of never hiding from anxiety and depression. After the interview was posted online, The Rock took to Instagram to follow up and expressed his utmost guidance to anybody who went through what he went through.

“Appreciate chopping up depression with my guys on The Pivot Podcast,” Rock wrote in his caption. “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. As men, we didn’t talk about it. We just kept our heads 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. 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.”

Notably, The Rock stressed how important it is for men to talk about their feelings. For far too long, men were considered weak in expressing their emotions – especially regarding their anxiety and mental health. Every member of the WWE Universe can learn a thing or two from the sentiment that he’s passed along to us this week. 

Remember, The Rock may seem superhuman in the ring and in Hollywood blockbusters, but he’s human, just like us. So here’s to a happy and healthy Dwayne Johnson continuing to put smiles on all our faces for many more years to come. 

If you or someone you know is thinking about self-harm or experiencing suicidal thoughts, call or text 988 to contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.