Body image problems, self-hate talk, depression, anxiety, and any other mental health issues that exist all have one thing in common… they don’t care who you are! You can be rich, poor, young, old, male, female, famous, unknown, thin, fat… any, all, or a mixture of these things and you can still find yourself in the midst of personal issues that make you feel alone, broken, or down on yourself.
Influences are all around us that make it worse from things we see in the media, unsolicited remarks from others, to the environment spaces we find ourselves in. Some days I am a perfectly fine happy body positive warrior loving myself from head to toe and inside out-person… other days I am numb to the world, not wanting to leave my bed, and feeling too fat to function in real life. Sometimes I am able to conceal my emotions and other times I cry. Luckily since I began therapy I am way more happy than sad but I still need to work on the whole love myself all the time part. As I often say no one is perfect we all have our days! See feeling annoyed!
That is how I feel as an unknown.
Celebrities that struggle with self-image issues, depression, ect… also have to deal with someone documenting it on camera and sharing it with the world. When we read things about celebrities, especially all the scrutiny they get for any weight gain/loss, wrinkle, or gray hair, we forget that they are also human and are affected by what they read about themselves. I can’t image how stressful it would be to be followed around by paparazzi taking my picture and publicly scrutinizing my every change.
For example, I previously wrote about Ashley Judd’s reaction to her “puffy cheeks” here Ashley Judd’s essay on body objectification remains relevant 4 years later!
Today I bring to your attention body image and depression from a male’s perceptive which often gets lost in these things being dubbed “women issues.” I came across this post by Wentworth Miller where he briefly discusses his struggle with depression, suicidal thoughts, emotional eating, and weight gain. It was a result of a meme of him going around that body shames the actor. This is worth a read so I copied the message below.
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.
Thank you for this Mr. Miller. Your honest about your struggles are inspiration that yes we can overcome our pain we just need to keep pushing on. Your change in perspective about an outright disgusting meme is spot on. We get to determine how we feel about negativity. We get to assign the meaning. I will never understand the joy people get for trying to inflict pain upon others.