The Rock smashes myths about depression in an emotional interview for Oprah.

"Hey, it's going to be OK. ... It'll be OK."

Before Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson began taking down opponents in the the ring as a wrestler, he fought a very different battle behind closed doors.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.


Decades ago, after being dealt significant career setbacks as an athlete, Johnson found himself battling depression.

During an episode of "Oprah's Master Class," the 43-year-old wrestler-turned-Hollywood-heavyweight opened up about his own mental health history.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

When he was 23 years old, Johnson was living in his parents' small apartment. He'd just been cut from the Canadian Football League and passed over by the NFL.

At a crossroads and feeling like a failure, Johnson's mental health suffered.

The one thing he wish he understood about depression while he was struggling with it?

GIFs via "Oprah's Master Class."

"I found that, with depression, one of the most important things you can realize is that you're not alone," Johnson said.

"You're not the first to go through it, you're not going to be the last to go through it. And oftentimes — it happens — you feel like you're alone. And you feel like it's only you. And you're in your bubble. And I wish I'd had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and say, 'Hey, it's going to be OK. ... It'll be OK.'"

Known for his big muscles and even bigger personality, Johnson may not seem like the type of person who'd struggled with depression.

But that's because there are a lot of misconceptions about what the disease looks like.

See this girl, all sad and lonely in bed? Sure, depression can look like this. But it doesn't have to. Photo via iStock.

If you're depressed, you must appear depressed, right? You should be moping around, dressed in all black, with a moving patch of gray clouds above your head (isn't that in a commercial I saw?).

Not exactly.

Last year, psychologist Rita Labeaune wrote in Pyschology Today about "smiling depression" — the type of deceptive depression that isn't so obvious.

"Not everyone experiences depression in the same way," she wrote. "Some might not even realize that they are depressed, especially if they seem like they're managing their day-to-day life. It doesn't seem possible that someone can be smiling, chipper, functioning, and at the same time, depressed."

That's why we should never assume that someone — even someone with a larger-than-life persona, like Johnson — isn't dealing with mental health issues beneath the surface.

Fortunately for Johnson, with determination and support from loved ones, things turned around.

Johnson ended up passing on another opportunity to return to the Canadian Football League — "My gut tells me I'm done," he remembers feeling at the time — because he was ready for something new.

That's when he decided to pursue wrestling — a move that ultimately benefited his mental health.

At first, his father wasn't supportive, saying Johnson's decision to put his football career behind him was "throwing it all away."

"I said, 'Maybe I'll be no good,'" Johnson recalled. "'But I feel like, in my heart, I have to do this.'"

Johnson's father ended up wholeheartedly supporting his son's career change, and — as evidenced by Johnson's impressive wrestling resume (not to mention his acting one) — the rest is history.

But, as Johnson's emotional video for "Oprah's Master Class" shows, it's still a tough discussion topic for the actor.

Bravo to Johnson for sharing a personal and difficult part of his life with us (because he certainly didn't have to).

For the many people struggling with depression, who could use some reminding that, no, you are not alone, it makes a big difference.

Watch Johnson on "Oprah's Master Class" below:

Need help? Learn more about depression and the various resources available for anyone who needs them here.

Family

Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

RELATED: This fascinating comic explains why we shouldn't use some Native American designs.

Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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