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Child Psychiatrist /Adult Psychiatrist

Overcoming Adversity - Humility/Resilience

Updated: Sep 9, 2023

I came across a post earlier today that stood out today. It made me think about a human spirit, drive, and adversity. I was really surprised when I read about the life of a very well-known actor Keanu Reeves. I was amazed at the course of his life and it makes you realize how much we often don't know what someone has been through or experience in life.

Early Life

a child with long hair smiling

Keanu was only three years old when his father left their family. He did keep in contact with his father, till 6 years of age. However, due to financial issues stemming from his parents' divorce, he moved from city to city during his childhood, later attending 4 various high school. He struggled academically due to diagnosed dyslexia, which made his school years challenging, until leading him to drop out of high school.

Death of Loved Ones

In 1993, early in his career as an actor, he lost his best friend River Phoenix, from a drug overdose at the age of 23. This was a very devastating point in his life, made him realize the fragility of life. In 1998, Keanu met Jennifer Syme. She ended up becoming pregnant 1 year following. At 8 months pregnant their child was born stillborn. It was suspected that the death of their daughter was a driving force to the end of his relationship. 18 months following the separation, Syme died in a car accident.


a couple of men in sunglasses

While dealing with the aftermath of tragedies and loss, he channeled his energy toward his craft. In 1999, he released the blockbuster movie hit The Matrix, which has historically been one of high grossing movies, which later lead to subsequent sequels. Unlike like scenes in the Matrix, where he dodged bullets, personally he learned to deal with the pain and suffering of being "hit" at various points in life. River Phoenix was one of his best friends that died from a drug overdose tragically at a young point in his career

a person in black suit wrestling


Keanu is a charitable human being. It is estimated that he has given 2/3rd of his income to the Matrix and subsequent sequels to his staff who was involved in specials effects and building of the sets. In addition, he became the caretaker for his sister Kim, who was diagnosed with leukemia. His sister battled leukemia for approximately a decade, later her cancer was found to be in remission. He donated a substantial portion of his money to cancer charities, research center, and treating hospitals. Some of charities that he has supported include Stand Up to Cancer and the SickKids Foundation.


women moving in the train

Humility. Even though Keanu is worth well over $100 million, he does not walk around with bodyguards. He is not chauffeured, as he rides the subway. Possibly hoping to reduce or decrease his carbon footprint or increase his ability to connect with other people. He has been photographed truly desiring to get understand life through other people's perspective.

a person sitting on a bench

He is a very mindful and intentional human being. He chose to make his suffering his leverage to overcome hurdles. I really admire that money never went to his dead and he tries each day to be a good human being and treat people kindly with his action and not his words.

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