If you weren't already a fan of Wentworth Miller, you'll probably be one after reading his latest Facebook post. And if you weren't already a fan of most people on the Internet, the responses to his post may restore your faith in humanity.
Like many people on our planet, he was mocked for his appearance, with someone creating a meme that compared his ripped "Prison Break" body to a photo of the actor in real-life a few years ago, having put on some weight. The "DC's Legends of Tomorrow" star used the opportunity to share about his personal struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts, leading to weight gain and destructive behavior. He urged his fans to help others who are struggling.
Here's the post:
Today I found myself the subject of an Internet meme. Not for the first time. This one, however, stands out from the...
Posted by Wentworth Miller on Monday, March 28, 2016
At the time of this writing, his note has 769,000 reactions, 257,000 shares, and 94,000 comments. They are so positive and supportive, they are worth bookmarking and re-reading anytime the world gets you down.
Here's the full text of Wentworth's note, and a few of the comments:
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. #koalas #inneractivist #prisonbroken
And here are just a few comments, including from "Arrow" star Stephen Amell and author Scott Stabile:
Stephen AmellThat's a pretty spectacular note, Wentworth.
Scott StabileWentworth Miller - I hope you never doubt the impact you're having by sharing your thoughts, your experience, your heart and your pain. You are brave and beautiful, and I'm grateful for and inspired by your honesty. Nothing but Love for you.
Brandi CashSo very glad you're in a better place. The world needs people like you - people who are open, honest, and who stand up for what they believe in. Never forget how strong you are and how much you've overcome...your scars tell a story that the world needs to hear.
Ray CoustonI feel like an idiot for liking the original post and just moving on with my day. Like many actors, I thought that you stopped training in between roles and let yourself put on a bit on weight after years of exercising and training just to take a break and relax. Or were perhaps gaining weight for another role entirely. I didn't think too much into the mental and emotional aspects.It's true what they say - there's always more than meets the eye.Good on you for doing something with this and inspiring a lot of people who look up to you.
Alison PopoloThis is amazing. Thank you for bringing awareness to depression and suicidal thoughts. As evil as the paparazzi was to shoot this photo and spew evil words hopefully the silver lining is that you got better and hopefully someone else will see it and use the resources that you provided to get better themselves. I've dealt with anxiety and depression since a child as well and everyday is still a struggle. Having a strong support system is number one. Thank you Mr. Miller for speaking out. Much love.
Sara YorkThank you for sharing your story. Growing up in an abusive home food was my only friend. Depression has played a huge part in my life. Im better now. I'm glad you survived. You're an awesome person.
Jennifer WalkerThank you for sharing your story Wentworth Miller. I too know the struggle survive depression and I applaud you for what you did to survive. I hope you have found peace now and are happier today. *Hugs*
Ally ButtWentworth Miller hey buddy, reading this has brought tears to my eyes! As you know I've struggled with #bullying#depression and #eatindisorders. I find it so hard to look at pics of the "fat" me. I always feel so #disgusted and #ashamed and #embarassed... So I can't even begin to imagine how you must have felt/feel.I always turn to you when I need #encouragement#motivation and #guidance!I cant even begin to tell you how much I #admire and #respect you for always seeing the #positives of every situation. And I am so....#relieved and #proud that you have found the positives of this anal #meme too! Went, you should know that #theLADbible are run by #heartless#thoughtless idiots so you should never take anything they say to heart!! And besides, have you looked in the mirror lately?!! I think you're looking the best you have ever looked! #fabulousforties#hunkofspunk#dropdeadgorgeous#muchlove#koalas
Natalie WhiteI am often reluctant to post a response to a celebrity, with the knowledge that you would rarely have the time to read or respond to anything I write, but this post has devastated my 15 yr old daughter Jess who absolutely adores you and shocked at the cruelty of others. So today I made the decision to write, to show her that everyone deserves a voice, even if that voice sometimes isn't heard. In my experience the people who hate on others often hate on themselves and project that hate on the people they envy. Being a huge prison break fan, it's hard not to fall in love with your character, and the vast array of other characters, perhaps because there is a fragility and vulnerability to each of them that a lot of fans can relate to. But what people forget is that there is a person behind the character. There is a human being who is not actually the role they play that we see on TV or in a movie. And that human being has thoughts, feelings, struggles, hardships, goals and emotions just like the rest of us mere mortals. A human being who deserves privacy and a chance to have a life away from their fame. Who makes mistakes, who isn't "perfect". When you become an actor, or a celebrity of any kind with that comes some bizarre expectation from the public and the paparazzi, a responsibility to be perfect and somehow an expectation that people are allowed to pry, comment, exploit, gossip and intrude on your personal life. But those who think that is OK, are absolutely WRONG. This meme is ridiculous for a lot of reasons. But one of those reasons is obvious. Posting a pic of you in character, versus a pic in real life. It is like posting a pic of Superman and then comparing it to the actor in real life who plays that role and expecting them to have superhuman strength and x-ray vision. There is no achievable comparison between fictional character and a real live human being. And that is what you are Wentworth... A real life human being. Not that it is relevant, but personally don't think you look overweight at all in this pic. You look healthy and normal and that looks like a genuine smile, despite your struggles at the time. But the part that is relevant is that to be able to smile a genuine smile when your soul is struggling... Which shows true inner strength. To share your thoughts, your feelings and reach out to others who may be experiencing similar issues, to fight for human rights and privileges for others when you must often wish to hide away from the world? This shows true character. True courage. You are doing exactly what your character Michael says in Prison Break "being the change you wish to see in the world." You are touching others. You are helping that kid out there who is struggling with their inability to "fit in" despite your initial reluctance to reveal your own sexual preferences. You said in your HR speech you wanted to touch just one person. That would be worth it. But, you're touching thousands. Thank you for inspiring others and using your fame for the better good of this world. You are an admirable, brave and compassionate soul. Keep going. You make a difference. Be proud of that & be safe with that knowledge. X
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