Chris Rock is opening up about a learning disorder of his that went undiagnosed until adulthood. In his recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the comedian revealed that he was diagnosed with Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) after nine hours of extensive cognitive testing.
“I had this great combination of big ego and low self-esteem,” he said. “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.”
NVLD, which is normally diagnosed in childhood, causes difficulty with motor, visual-spatial, and social skills. The 55-year-old revealed that he is now attending therapy seven hours per week to work through the disorder. Rock realized that he has difficulty with non-verbal signals, which makes up 80 percent of communication.
“And all I understand are the words,” he later added, “And I’d always just chalked it up to being famous. Any time someone would respond to me in a negative way, I’d think, ‘Whatever, they’re responding to something that has to do with who they think I am.’ Now, I’m realizing it was me. A lot of it was me.”
Another self-awakening moment that the “Down To Earth” actor experienced was learning how to swim so that he could finally use his pool at his New Jersey home.
“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 went on the add, “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.”