I am all about empowering people and getting to know what other people feel or think before I pass my judgement. And I’m not trying to make myself look good.
There was this photo that was making rounds in the morning. A photo collage of Wentworth Miller. Remember him? He’s that hottie from Prison Break that made lots of women go nuts for that show.
Safe to say that around 2009, Wentworth was seemingly at a good place.
But as the photo surfaced today online, it took a toll on him. And this is what he posted on his Facebook page:
“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
It broke my heart to read this post as I tried to imagine what he had been going through before, and the kind of emotions that today’s cyber bullying may have evoked in him.
It’s crazy to think that people think that only “other” people can or “should” be bullied; but not them. Others can be broken, but not them. That it’s okay to attack other people’s insecurities; as long as it doesn’t happen to them.
Are they special?
I like to think that we’re all equal. But I know, and I have seen, that unless you are able to BE EMPATHETIC towards others, set sympathy aside, and just try and understand people from where THEY stand, you haven’t really grown.
There is a certain type of growth, peace of mind, and eye opening experience that comes with learning how to be empathetic towards others.
And that’s a gift.