Celebrities with Mental Health Issues: Dwayne Johnson

Few actors measure up to Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, a pillar of muscle and model of perfect appearances. His godlike attributes are even lampooned in films like Baywatch or Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, where his characters have no weaknesses.

His admitting to struggling with Depression, therefore, surprised many.

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According to an interview with The Daily Express, Johnson’s major depressive period began with saving his mother from an attempted suicide. When his life dream of playing professional football failed and his girlfriend dumped him, his mood and grades plummeted.

But The Rock isn’t in that same dark place and wants to open up. He thinks talking about our mental health issues is much better than keeping our feelings inside.

“Open dialogue, period, when it comes to mental health -especially when it comes to teenagers but especially when it comes to guys, too [is more helpful].” -Dwayne Johnson, interview with CityNews Toronto.

Besides encouraging open dialogue, he reaches out with hope and advice.

“Just gotta remember: hold on to that fundamental quality of faith. Have faith. And on the other side of faith is something good.” Dwayne Johnson, Oprah’s Master ClassOWN.

We typically think celebrities don’t have any problems. They make millions and look great. If they do have problems, a few thousand sunk on therapy cures everything. Right?

Wrong. Mental Illness knows no boundaries.

Mental issues like Depression affect everyone. Instead of thinking celebrities like The Rock are invulnerable; are literally a rock, let’s take Dwayne Johnson’s real life advice and experiences and make them our own.

Never quit fighting. The Rock didn’t and neither will you.

 

Photo Credit:
By Eva Rinaldi – Dwayne Johnson, CC BY-SA 2.0

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month. While it’s great there’s a month dedicated to this, it should be 365-day year awareness.

I understand suicide can be a touchy subject especially for those who have struggled with it themselves or have lost a loved one to it.

I wanted to share my personal story with suicide because that was something I struggled with for a long time.

I was 14 years old when I started getting suicidal thoughts. I was in high school and was completely miserable. I was living in an abusive household suffering abuse from my mom on a daily basis. It was physical, verbal, & psychological abuse. Living in such a toxic environment and experiencing that abuse on a regular basis caused me to go into a severe depression.

I would spend hours locked in my room crying myself to sleep. I would always question God asking him “why me?”

“Why was this happening to me?”

“Why did I have to get a mom who treated me so terribly?”

It wasn’t much longer when I started to get suicidal thoughts on a regular basis.

My mom told me so many lies on a regular basis that it was hard for me to not believe them. She convinced me I was a burden to others & that I shouldn’t be on this earth. She told me things that no child or person should ever here. She told me she wished I were never born and that she wished she had me aborted when she had the chance. These are things I wish I could say never happened, but those were all lies she told me.

My thoughts started to become more negative and darker as the days went on. I started to lose feelings of happiness and forgot what happiness felt like. I started to feel numb & empty on the inside not feeling any emotions but sadness. I started to cope with self-harm when I was 14 years old. I believed it was the only way for me to feel something besides emptiness & sadness so I turned to self-harm.

That’s when the suicidal thoughts started to creep in and became more frequent. I started to believe the lies my mom and my depression told me. I believed I was a burden to others and that the world would be a better place without me in it. I wanted out of the world so bad that I came up with a plan when I was 15 years old to end my life. I had been prescribed pain medication from a dentist visit when I had to get a root canal and researched that medication and found that if I took all of the pills in the bottle I could never wake up again. That was my plan.

It was like playing tug o war in my mind though, there was that part of me that believed I was a burden and that I should just leave the world now, but there was another part of me that wanted to keep fighting. It told me to keep pushing through that those negative thoughts were lies and I could beat them.

I confided in my high school’s guidance counselor and he helped me push through the suicidal thoughts. I didn’t seek out treatment for my depression at the time even though I should have. Throughout high school I still struggled with depression and being active in sports helped me manage it.

After high school and when I went away to University the suicidal thoughts started to creep in again. I thought it was just homesickness since I was going to school on the other side of the country, but it was much deeper than that for me.

It was the summer of 2014 when I was home from University that I sought out treatment for my depression. I struggled with an alcohol addiction and one day when I had way too much to drink I couldn’t control the suicidal thoughts. I knew that if I didn’t seek out help that night, I would have harmed myself and may not be alive today. I had my best friend’s boyfriend drive me to the mental hospital and drop me off. He asked me if I was sure I wanted to do this and I told him yes I knew if I didn’t get help I was only going to get worse.

I spent three days in the crisis unit of the mental hospital. I was put on Zoloft and anxiety medication that helped ease my anxiety while I was there. I wish I could say going on Zoloft helped with my depression, but it actually made things worse for me. At the time I was diagnosed with depression and didn’t know I had bipolar disorder. When I was on Zoloft I felt like a zombie I was so out of it and numb, I hated it. I didn’t realize that for those who have bipolar disorder, anti-depressants could cause you to go into mania, which it did for me.

When I was back at University that semester I was a wreck. I was in and out of depressive episodes along with being in manic episodes. My alcohol problem was out of control and my behavior was reckless. I was failing all of my classes and was drinking on a daily basis. I started to struggle with self-harm again and the suicidal thoughts again. I knew that if I didn’t leave University and get myself out of that environment things were only going to get worse for me. That’s when I withdrew from University and moved back home to Florida.

I wish I could say everything got better for me when I got back home to Florida, but my depression grew worse. The psychiatrist I was seeing was no help at all to me and didn’t listen to my problems. He didn’t care to give me a proper psych evaluation and just wrote me a script for the next anti-depressant out there. I continued to struggle with self-harm and battled the suicidal thoughts daily.

I was empty & numb living in an endless cycle of my depression.

It wasn’t until the end of 2016 when I finally found a psychiatrist who gave me a proper psych evaluation and diagnosed me with bipolar disorder. Getting on the proper medication and changing my lifestyle to healthier habits, put an end to the suicidal thoughts. It was like the fog had finally been lifted and I could see clearly again. I started to see a therapist for a few months as well that helped me work through some of the issues from my past.

I’m happy to say that I am stable now and have not harmed myself in over three years now. I still find myself going into depressive episodes every now and then and will catch the suicidal thoughts creeping into my mind. I’ve become a lot stronger than I was three years ago and can fight off the thoughts much better than before.

I know living with a mental illness will be a life long battle for me. I’ve spent over ten years now fighting the demons and while it can be exhausting, I know I will survive the fight.

For those of you that have experienced something similar or going through a tough time please never hesitate to seek out help. There are so many resources available out there today and remember you are not a burden to others. Your life matters and you are never alone in this fight.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

How Do I Be Positive?

Getting into a cycle of negative and pessimistic thoughts is so easy for me. I look at a situation and can pick out all of the insurmountable challenges.

Whether it’s related to work, writing, relationships or general life, I see life with a negative perspective. It’s like having permanent sunglasses on that prevent me from seeing the positive light shining all around me.

As I’ve written in some previous posts, I am in the process of moving which has been overwhelming. The house my boyfriend and I just purchased was left filthy. I am still shocked that people chose to live in such filthy conditions. The bathtub and dish washer are moldy, all three sinks are grimy, I don’t think they ever cleaned their dryer vent and I feel like I have to wash my hands every few minutes to feel clean.

My negative mindset says, “You’ll be cleaning up these people’s shit forever!” “You’re never going to feel clean in your own home.” “This house was a mistake.” “Why am you so lazy that you can’t clean everything in one go?”

I spoke with my therapist today. She suggested to take each task one step at a time. To compartmentalize instead of looking at the house as one giant task.

It’s hard to look at it positively though when you live in a negative thought cycle.

Do you struggle with negative thinking? How do you change your mindset to think positively?

Depression & Anxiety Returns

My title sounds like a bad sequel in a movie franchise that will not die. I’m trying to keep it light hearted since I’ve really been struggling today.

My mental health has been doing so well for the past few months. I’ve been able to think clearly, function normally and even step outside of my regularly scheduled programming. It’s been great! I’ve been proud of myself even!

But of course all great things must end.

Yesterday my anxiety began to gnaw at my stomach during work. Then the thoughts started buzzing around in my mind as I started worrying about upcoming changes in my life. I also made two mistakes yesterday and today that brought out my depression.

Anxiety was the opening act and now depression has come out to sing a duet. It’s kinda of like in “Camp Rock” when Demi Lovato is singing “This is Me” then Joe Jonas comes to finish the song with her. (I got to see this happen twice in concert in 2008, it was so awesome!)

I can’t focus.
I am stuck in my mind.
I want to hide in my room for the next century. At least it’s safe in there.

It’s amazing how individuals with mental illness can be fine one moment then something happens and our worlds are crashing down around us. Our minds only push us down instead of being able to rationalize and pick ourselves up.

These are the moments I wish I didn’t have a broken brain.

I wish I could brush stuff off but I can’t all of the time. Lately I’ve been mentally stable enough to do that but today I can’t.

I don’t want to go through the misery of a depressive episode. I don’t want my anxiety to be taunting me again. I have enjoyed the peace for months, I’m not ready to give it up.

What about you guys? How’s your mental health been lately? Whether it’s been good or bad, please leave me a comment! I love chatting with you guys in the comments 🙂 It always makes me feel better about life. Like maybe I’m not so alone after all.

How an Emotional Support Animal Helped With my Healing

I got my cat Calypso five years ago when I had moved back home from University. That period of my life was when I was struggling badly with my mental health. I had withdrawn from University because I had been sexually assaulted and my mental health was on the decline.

 

Moving back home, I felt alone and was battling negative thoughts on a daily basis. I had a friend suggest to me that I look into getting an emotional support animal to keep me company and help with my healing. I did research on emotional support animals and found that some of the benefits were that it lowered stress & anxiety levels, reduced feelings of loneliness, and offered companionship. I was living with my grandparents at the time so it took some convincing for them to let me bring a cat into the home since they had a dog. When I shared with them the benefits of having an emotional support animal they quickly got on board with the idea.

 

I’ll always remember the day when I brought Calypso home. My best friend and I were out shopping for the day and figured we would stop by the pet store to look at the animals. I saw Calypso there and it was love at first sight. She was the cat I wanted to bring into my life.

 

The pet store was partnered with the local humane society so we gave the lady a call to meet us at the store so I could interact with Calypso. Like any cat meeting a new person she was a little skittish and apprehensive, but quickly took to me. The lady told me that another family had looked into adopting her, but she didn’t think they were a good fit. She saw the connection between Calypso and me and could tell it was going to be a good fit.

 

The first day I brought her home she immediately took to me. I’ve had cats before and sometimes they’ll spend a couple days in hiding getting used to their new surroundings, but that wasn’t the case with Calypso. She spent about maybe an hour in hiding and was already comfortable in her new surroundings.

 

Adopting Calypso to be my emotional support animal was the best decision I made. Even though she’s a cat she’s become my best friend and part of the family. During my healing with mental health she was there for me every step of the way. I had days where it was a struggle for me to get out of bed and find any motivation to do anything and she was always there to give me that extra push. She helped me keep a routine since I would have to feed her twice a day and it forced me to get out of bed every day.

 

They say animals can always pick up on people’s emotions and I believe that is true. I had days when I would spend hours crying and she would sit with me until I was feeling better. Whenever I was having a bad day, she would be glued to my side. She would follow me around the house like a little puppy dog and would let me pet her as much as I wanted. She would give me that extra motivation and push I needed to get through the day to get daily tasks done. She helped me feel not so alone and gave me that love I deeply craved and needed at that time.

 

I am forever grateful for having Calypso in my life. Even though she is a cat, she played a big part in my healing journey. She was there for me every step of the way and gave me that extra love and support I needed.

 

If you have considered adopting a pet for an emotional support animal, I highly encourage it. Having my cat a part of my life helped with my healing process and kept me motivated each and everyday.

Can I Keep It Together?

I’ve lived with depression and anxiety my entire life so I understand the ups and downs of mental illness well. There are days when all things are fine then others where I wonder if getting out of bed is even worth it.

Right now I’m in a good spot mentally. It’s nice to have that moment to breathe in the fresh air of mental stability. The past few weeks have been lovely because I’ve had the opportunity to celebrate all of the family members I love.

Lately I’ve been reflecting on my journey and have been asking myself how long can I keep it together. I wonder how long will it be before I’m crying under my covers in bed because of my illness. I am worried about how long I’ll be able to stay clean from self-harm.

These spells of mental stability don’t last forever. Eventually I will fall back into my struggles. But how bad will it be next time? How soon should I prepare myself for when everything goes to shit?

Though my overall mind is calm, anxiety still tries to claw its way through my brain so I start worrying again. Then depression is right behind to try and drag me down from the weight of my thoughts.

I worry that my next episode will be miserable. I worry that I won’t be able to keep it together.

How do you keep it together when you feel like you’re crumbling into a million pieces?

Mental Illness Really Sucks

You wouldn’t believe this, but mental illness sucks.

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I spend a lot of days just stuck. I lack motivation or a positive outlook or even the will to shower. People telling me that things will get better do not help. I mean, things will get better for them

And I only have depression.

What I’ve read about bipolar, schizophrenia, and anxiety (to name a few general terms) makes me understand the suckiness of mental illnesses can only go deeper.

And the worst part? Stuff like motivation and will power is nonexistent. It’s been sucked away. That’s the analogy I keep thinking of with all the recent news about black holes in space.

That’s it! -Mental illness is like a black hole.

The Event Horizon Telescope, a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration, captured this image of the supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy M87 and its shadow.

Image: © EHT Collaboration

So… why am I bothering to write about it? It sounds like we ought to just accept our fate and enter another dimension as re-composed atoms, right? Wrong. I’ll tell you why, and you don’t even have to get up from the floor to listen.

Things actually will get better.

No, that’s not a cheery aphorism. I do not believe in those, because they also suck -but not like the suck of mental illness black holes. Go get your own sucking analogy, aphorisms.

But you don’t really care about that right now if you’re in a spiral.

What you need right now is to calm down. That thing you think you really need to be doing will wait, unless it’s a pot of boiling dinner on the stove. Turn that off, remove it from heat, then calm down. Now that we’ve mitigated a fire hazard, everything can wait. The Earth will keep moving and you can take a little break.

Then you need to do something for you. Something funny.


Watch a funny movie, read a funny book, look at funny memes online, ask your dad for a joke, or search for internet fails. Get laughing, or at least get not-crying. Try a smile -that’s it. I’ll take it.

Make yourself slightly more comfortable.
Use the bathroom, eat something reasonably healthy and brush your teeth. Comb your hair. Shower and get dressed.

Lastly, do SOMETHING.
You just got up and ready, after all. It’s not like your couch is a great date, though sitting on it with a great date or group of friends is fine. Text someone (even your mom) and leave the pit house.

Only after you’ve re-centered your mind, aka escaped the black hole, are you ready to do try facing whatever space anomaly sent you near it.

Speaking of, you may want to clean off your stove. That crap’s hard to get off if it stays on there.

 

Photo Credits:
Tiago Bandeira

A Birthday Reflection

Yesterday I turned 26 years old. I had an absolutely wonderful day spent with my family and my boyfriend. There was nothing lavish or anything but it was time well spent and I felt appreciated by everyone.

One of my love languages is quality time so getting to spend time with the people I’m closest with was awesome.

It is amazing how a few years can change your perspective about life.

I remember when I turned 24 I reflected upon how I was celebrating my birthday while I struggled each day to live. This happened towards the end of my 7-month severe depressive episode, I had no idea that my suicidal thoughts were going to soon be quiet.

I thought to myself, “This is so odd. How can I celebrate my life when all I want to do is die?”

Soon after April 13, 2017, I found the right antidepressants and was finally able to attend therapy only once a week instead of twice. I got a new job plus a side gig that cut my stress level by over half.

I fell in love when I thought I never would again.

Later that year I got to see the most beautiful sunset ever in Las Vegas and go to the desert in California (two places I had never been before).

Right now my mental health is doing pretty well so in this reflection, I am glad that I didn’t kill myself. I’m glad that there was a light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel.

If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, I hope that this post gives you perspective. In the moment you think that life will never get better. But it does.

Does Mental Illness = Weakness?

This weekend was very difficult for me. My mental illness had me in its grip tight which kept me in bed for Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and about 75 percent of Sunday.

My boyfriend and I were butting heads which really made me anxious. I was having so many worries because of our argument that it made things worse.

He is a very introverted person so sometimes he needs an entire day to re-energize. He told me that he needed alone time this weekend to recharge and spend time with his friends who he doesn’t see very often. In true Megan fashion, I freaked out.

I plunged into my anxious thoughts so deeply that I thought I might get sick. I worried fervently about whether this was the end of our relationship. Whether he didn’t love me anymore. Whether he wanted to find somebody better than me who could meet every single need of his without fail.

My mental illness often makes me feel weak. That if I didn’t have these nagging thoughts that led me to staying in bed for hours, flipping out over a change of plans and crying a lot.

I feel like I should be stronger.

That I should be able to tackle my mental illness to the ground because I don’t fall for its bullshit anymore. That I should be able to rebound quickly or just stand strong after my intense sensitivity teams up with my anxiety to spiral me down into the arms of depression.

If I was stronger I wouldn’t lose an entire weekend because my feelings are hurt and my anxiety is making it 50 times worse.

But I can’t do those things.

I am too weak to overcome my mental illness.

I always ask for your opinion at the end so please leave me a comment! Does your mental illness make you feel weak too?

Encouraging Myself Before I Snap

I’m having a very difficult day today.

My anxiety levels are high while my depression is begging for me to crawl into bed where I can fall apart.

Since my iPhone woke me up this morning I have wanted to go back to sleep. I considered not getting up, to call in sick so that I could lay in bed all day. But then I remembered…

I had a beautiful quiche I bought at a local coffee shop in the mini fridge at work.

I said to myself, “I can’t let that quiche go to waste. I paid good money for that!”

So I told myself that if I go to work I can try to stay until 12:30 (basically half of my day) and eat my quiche.

This actually worked! I got ready as usual and continued to encourage myself throughout the day. I have been saying, “Ok, can I make it for another 5 minutes? How about another hour?”

It’s past 2 p.m. here on the East Coast of America so I’ve stayed well beyond my original goal. My goal right now is to make it until 2:30. From there I’ll evaluate if I can finish my work day.

Damn my therapist is going to be proud of me!

For when I go home I have no idea what is going to happen. I have been in control all day but I don’t know if I can prevent myself from having a meltdown.

I hope that this post helps somebody out there! Please leave me a comment of what you do to overcome the desires of your mental illness!

Mental illnesses can be so loud and have such a tight grip on us. It takes a shit load of strength to surmount the difficulties a mental illness brings.