Wentworth Miller, star of Fox’s soon-to-be-revived “Prison Break” and current Captain Cold on the CW’s “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” took to Facebook on Monday to strike back at a fat-shaming meme centered around his appearance and, in the process, became the latest celebrity to make an effort to de-stigmatize mental illness.
The meme, which found its origins on LAD Bible, “one of the largest communities for guys aged 16-30 in the world,” featured two photos side-by-side of Miller, a shirtless promotional shot from the height of the popularity of “Prison Break” alongside a shot of a heavier Miller circa 2010 with the caption, “When you break out of prison and find out about McDonald’s Monopoly.”
In his post, Miller recalls the occasion of the photo being taken and the headlines it spurred at the time, “Hunk To Chunk,” “Fit To Flab,” but also goes further as to share the circumstances surrounding the image.
“In 2010, semi-retired from acting, I was keeping a low-profile for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I was suicidal,” Miller wrote in his post, going on to explain that though it was a matter he’s been comfortable speaking about since, at the time, like so many other victims of depression, he suffered in silence.
“I considered myself damaged goods. … I've struggled with depression since childhood. It's a battle that's cost me time, opportunities, relationships, and a thousand sleepless nights,” Miller wrote.
In 2010, Miller reports looking to anesthetize the pain any way that he could, be it drugs, alcohol, sex or, yes, food.
“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.”
Miller’s sentiment is one likely all too familiar to sufferers of depression and, though his first reaction to seeing the post pop up on his social media feed was one of pain and dismay, he now recognizes the photos for what they are: evidence of his survival.
“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,” Miller wrote, going on to encourage individuals that help is available and adding a half-dozen links to resources.
This is merely the latest incident of Miller making headlines by speaking openly about his private life. In 2013, the actor came out, while turning down an opportunity to appear at a film festival in Russia, citing the country’s anti-gay laws and later that year sharing his previous suicide attempt while speaking at a Human Rights Commission gala.
Miller joins a growing list of celebrities who have gone public with their struggles with mental illness, including Hayden Panettiere sharing her battle with postpartum depression, Demi Lovato and her efforts to control disordered eating and bipolar disorder and NFL star Brandon Marshall and his life with borderline personality disorder.
LAD Bible issued an extensive apology on its Facebook page to Miller, stating its commitment to mental health outreach and applauding both the actor's efforts to destigmatize mental illness and his willingness to respond to the page's actions head on, in an attempt to hold it accountable.
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