Chris Rock is opening up about some issues he’s been quietly battling for his entire life.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the comedian reveals some of the things he’s been struggling with during quarantine, along with touching on other problems he’s been able to solve with all of this extra time on his hands.
Throughout the piece, Rock reflects on those early years through a different lens.
“I had this great combination of big ego and low self-esteem,” he says. “And the ego gets you out onstage, but the low self-esteem is the thing that makes you practice so much because you don’t believe in yourself at all. You think you’re a total f***ing fraud — and you don’t think anybody could love you for being you, so you have to be good at this thing.”
He goes on to admit that the constant fear of disappointing others “just depletes you.” He continues, “I had to let it go. I was just dying, dude.”
That’s why now, at age 55, he’s in therapy, which he attended for seven hours a week.
According to Rock, his decision to seek meaningful help for the first time in his life was caused by a friend’s suggestion that he may have Asperger’s. That prompted a nine-hour battery of cognitive tests earlier this year, from which doctors diagnosed the comedian with a condition called nonverbal learning disorder, or NVLD. Nonverbal Learning Disorder is a learning disability that causes difficulty with motor, visual-spatial, and social skills.
As he’s come to understand it, he has tremendous difficulty with non-verbal signals.
80 percent of communication is nonverbal. “And all I understand are the words,” he explains.
Rock also revealed during the interview that he finally learned how to swim.
“Do you know how f***ing hard it is for a grown-up to learn how to swim? You’ve got to not be scared to die,” he says, acknowledging how crazy it is to have a pool that he couldn’t use at his Alpine, New Jersey, home this whole time.
“The other day, this guy says to me, ‘OK, you’re going to dive into the deep end and swim to the other side,’ and I’m like, ‘Are you f***ing crazy?’ But then I dove into the deep end and I swam to the other side, and it’s a metaphor for what I’ve been trying to do during this time.”
You can read Chris Rock’s latest interview in its entirety here.