Wentworth Miller, the hot piece from Prison Break, was going through his Facebook feed the other day, and in between the usual posts (Note: If his “usual posts” are like my “usual posts” he went through second amendment rants from his pro-gun cousin, a targeted Amazon ad for microwavable pork rinds and baby pictures), there was a meme starring him. The Lad Bible posted a meme featuring a picture of Wentworth Miller’s tattooed twink body from his Prison Break days next to a “fat” picture of him looking like me if I went on the Master Cleanse for two days. The LAD Bible has since ripped down the post and apologized to Wentworth. But this is what they posted:
43-year-old Wentworth Miller has written and talked before about his struggles with depression, but seeing that picture of him in the red shirt, pulled out the memories from that dark point in his life.
Wentworth shared his story on Facebook again and dude went deep. He wrote that in 2010, when he was semi-retired from acting, he was suffering from the sads in a major way and was having suicidal thoughts. At that time, he used food to temporarily drown the pain. Some people turn to crack, some turn to ass and Wentworth says he turned to food. That picture of him in the red shirt was taken during that time and it ended up in magazines and on the Internet. One of his mom’s metiche friends cut the picture out of a tabloid and MAILED it to her. This was 2010, not 1910. His mother’s Benita Butrell-like friend could’ve taken a picture of it and texted it, or even found the pic online and e-mailed it. But no, she put it in an envelope, sealed it and slapped a stamp on it. That’s when you’re really dedicated to your gossipy bitch game. But anyway… Wentworth’s mom eventually got the picture and called him out of concern, and he says that’s really not what he needed at the 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.
Wentworth went on to eloquently write about how the picture hurt him at first, but he decided to change the meaning:
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
I’ve posted most of Wentworth’s essay, but you can read all of it here.
I don’t think that I’m currently suffering from depression, but I did think twice about that when I got to the part about how during those dark times, Wentworth really only got excited for new episodes of Top Chef and his favorite meal. Like I said, I don’t think I’m depressed and the highlights of my week are eating a Double-Double and screaming, “Not another fucking crudo,” at the TV while watching Top Chef. And then after I read that part, I realized that Top Chef is over for now and then I got sad. Thanks, Wentworth!