“Like a dandelion up through the pavement, I persist. Anyway. Still. Despite.”
From the seemingly negative, positivity can sometimes flourish – and actor Wentworth Miller has proved just that with a powerful response to a body-shaming meme.
Posting the image in question, a comparison of his weight at two different times in his life, on his Facebook page, the Prison Break star admitted in an accompanying message that the first time he saw it, “it hurt to breathe”.
But Miller, 43, went on to use the opportunity to issue an emotive plea for greater understanding of mental health issues.
Discussing how one of the pictures was taken during a 2010 hike in Los Angeles, he explained that at the time he was “semi-retired” and “keeping a low-profile for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I was suicidal […]
“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 […] And I put on weight. Big f--king deal.”
The composite shot of Miller, who starred in Prison Break as Michael Scofield from 2005 to 2009, was captioned by viral content website The Lad Bible with “When you break out of prison and find out about McDonald’s monopoly…”
The actor, currently starring in DC's Legends of Tomorrow, countered the negative message by encouraging others to help loved ones through mental health issues.
“Long story short, I survived. So do those pictures. I'm glad.
“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.
“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.”
In recent years, Miller has been open about how he's lived with depression since the age of 10, and last year released a searingly honest account of his experiences online.
The Lad Bible has since responded to Miller's post, apologising for its insensitivity: “Mental health is no joke or laughing matter.
“We certainly didn’t want to cause you pain by reminding you of such a low point in your life. Causing distress and upset to innocent or vulnerable people is simply not acceptable.”
If you're struggling with similar mental health issues or know someone who is, visit the websites below.
Images: facebook.com/wentworthmilleractorwriter / Rex Features