Wentworth Miller has posted a heartfelt open letter in which he outlines his struggles with depression and food after a meme poking fun at his weight went viral over the weekend.
The Prison Break star, who came out publicly in 2013 in response to Russia’s anti-LGBT crackdown, had fallen victim to a (now-deleted) Facebook post by The Lad Bible, which juxtaposed a shirtless picture of his career-defining role Prison Break with a paparazzi photo from 2010, alongside the caption: “When you break out of prison and find out about McDonald’s monopoly…”
As the picture went viral online, 43-year-old Miller – who is set to reprise his role as Michael Schofield in the upcoming reboot of the hit Fox show – decided to fight back in a post on his official Facebook page, admitting that a bout of depression had left him suicidal and turning to food when the later picture was taken, and he had a clear message for anyone who’d try to shame him for that:
“Big f**cking deal.”
Read his post in full below:
Today I found myself the subject of an Internet meme. Not for the first time.
This one, however, stands out from the rest.
In 2010, semi-retired from acting, I was keeping a low-profile for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, I was suicidal.
This is a subject I’ve since written about, spoken about, shared about.
But at the time I suffered in silence. As so many do. The extent of my struggle known to very, very few.
Ashamed and in pain, I considered myself damaged goods. And the voices in my head urged me down the path to self-destruction. Not for the first time.
I’ve struggled with depression since childhood. It’s a battle that’s cost me time, opportunities, relationships, and a thousand sleepless nights.
In 2010, at the lowest point in my adult life, I was looking everywhere for relief/comfort/distraction. And I turned to food. It could have been anything. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. But eating became the one thing I could look forward to. Count on to get me through. There were stretches when the highlight of my week was a favorite meal and a new episode of TOP CHEF. Sometimes that was enough. Had to be.
And I put on weight. Big f–king deal.
One day, out for a hike in Los Angeles with a friend, we crossed paths with a film crew shooting a reality show. Unbeknownst to me, paparazzi were circling. They took my picture, and the photos were published alongside images of me from another time in my career. “Hunk To Chunk.” “Fit To Flab.” Etc.
My mother has one of those “friends” who’s always the first to bring you bad news. They clipped one of these articles from a popular national magazine and mailed it to her. She called me, concerned.
In 2010, fighting for my mental health, it was the last thing I needed.
Long story short, I survived.
So do those pictures.
Now, when I see that image of me in my red t-shirt, a rare smile on my face, I am reminded of my struggle. My endurance and my perseverance in the face of all kinds of demons. Some within. Some without.
Like a dandelion up through the pavement, I persist.
Anyway. Still. Despite.
The first time I saw this meme pop up in my social media feed, I have to admit, it hurt to breathe. But as with everything in life, I get to assign meaning. And the meaning I assign to this/my image is Strength. Healing. Forgiveness.
Of myself and others.
If you or someone you know is struggling, help is available. Reach out. Text. Send an email. Pick up the phone. Someone cares. They’re waiting to hear from you. Much love. – W.M.
If you’re affected by any of the issues raised in this article, contact the Samartians‘ confidential 24-hour listening and advice service, free to call on 116 123 (UK) and 116 123 (ROI).
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