Sometimes suffering a horrific accident can really hinder your mental health and have you worried about the future of your physical health. George Clooney is a great example as to how you can push through these difficult times.
In 2005, when Clooney was shooting for the film Syriana, he suffered a terrible spinal injury that affected his brain to the point where he contemplated suicide just to end his suffering and virtual immobility.
“There was this scene where I was taped to a chair and getting beaten up. The chair was kicked over and I hit my head,” he explained at the time, per The Guardian. “I tore my dura, which is the wrap around my spine that holds in the spinal fluid. But it’s not my back; it’s my brain. I basically bruised my brain. It’s bouncing around my head because it’s not supported by the spinal fluid.”
*WARNING GRAPHIC* That spinal fluid managed to even leak out of his nose.
The injury caused constant and severe headaches, and, at the time, doctors were not able to identify the problem. The pain was too much to bear and Clooney started to think of dangerous ways to escape the pain.
“Before the surgery it was the most unbearable pain I’ve ever been through,” he explained, “literally where you’d go, ‘Well, you’ll have to kill yourself at some point, you can’t live like this.’”
He later talked to Rolling Stone (per The Hollywood Reporter), discussing in further detail about his mental health at the time.
“I was at a point where I thought, ‘I can’t exist like this. I can’t actually live,’” he recalled. “I was lying in a hospital bed with an IV in my arm, unable to move, having these headaches where it feels like you’re having a stroke, and for a short three-week period, I started to think, ‘I may have to do something drastic about this.’”
The Ocean’s Eleven star even thought about the methods in which he would end his life, but ultimately decided against it, saying what he was truly trying to achieve was “to figure out how to survive.”
To deal with the pain, Clooney initially tried his hand in painkillers, but was worried about their long-term effects on him given his family’s history with addiction. He then decided to recover via natural methods such as therapy with a doctor he referred to as “a pain guy”.
The pain guy explained to him that, essentially, pain was a mental state of mind, and if you believe the pain to be a “normal” feeling, then it will go away.
“Basically, the idea is, you try to reset your pain threshold,” Clooney told GQ in 2020. “Because a lot of times what happens with pain is you’re constantly mourning for how it used to feel.”
The therapy proved to be a success, a feeling that Clooney compared to “euphoria” having been released from the pain.
He has since done his best keeping out of harm’s way – besides a motorcycle accident he suffered in 2018 – and hasn’t let his injuries put a damper on his highly successful career.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.