Men struggle too: A message from Wentworth Miller

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.

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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.

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.

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.

Thoughts?

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30 thoughts on “Men struggle too: A message from Wentworth Miller

  1. The internet can be a cruel place. It always shocks me when people feel so free to write nasty comments. I think what you are doping with this block is a beautiful thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read that about Wentworth Miller today too, and was going to use it in my answer to the prompt about not concealing issues. Good on him, and you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Nice post – I posted about this too.

    I think this is more than about body shaming. It’s about the anonymity of the internet, and people not considering (or not caring) that someone else is on the other side of the computer – even if it is a celebrity.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I totally agree with you. First, men and boys do struggle with personal issues, including body-related ones and it is not yet enough talked about. It is good that Miller spoke out on this. Besides, as mentioned above, there is the problem of anonymity on social media which can be an absolute plague. And we were all born humans, and at times people forget that there is no actual line between fiction and reality that would echo the line between celebrities and “common people”.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been in various Eating disorder clinics and there has been more and more men who develop eating disorders -The media was never going to let men get away with being okay with just the way they are. It’s a sad world we live in. The media must change. Some women in the industry and celebrities have taken on the fight against the elite ,drug riddled,crazy ideas of the fashion world. Men are getting targeted now. I have a feeling it is going to get a lot worse before it can get better unless we females stop this craziness now and speak out about our true expectations of men – :0 great post Stephiann8

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post. Food/Eating/Weight related or not, this irritates me on many levels. The biggest of which is control.

    Outsiders always think that what you are going through is a choice… that you could change it if you wanted to, you’re just not trying. Utter BS. This is part of the ignorance out there that depression and many other mental health illnesses (including addiction) are not considered real illnesses to so many people.

    So whether your coping mechanism is food, drugs, alcohol, sex, crying, seeking constant approval, hiding, or anything else self-destructive…. THAT is not the issue. The issue is the underlying condition — which is a real thing… not something people dream up to get attention or whatever other ridiculous things others think.

    This happened to me recently with anxiety/depression. I was having a bad few days and it showed by my not-necessarily-good coping mechanisms… and all I heard was crap like “You’re choosing to feel this way. You can feel better if you want to. You’re just not even trying.” Really? Who the #$@* would choose to feel like utter crap? Do they think I’m an idiot!?!

    Sorry for the rambling rant! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • One of my favorite phrases “it could be worse…you could have cancer”. Sure it could be fucking worse, it could always be worse, but why are we comparing illnesses…you can’t see mine so you assume it doesn’t hurt me? OR that I choose to live this way?

      Liked by 2 people

    • Oh how I HATE this! I have good days, bad days and bad bad days where I am numb to the world. I don’t chose that. Who would chose that?? My coping is pretty much crying and yeah eating. No rant good stuff! Thanks for the comment it was awesome 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m glad you posted this! I read it just about 20 minutes ago on facebook and was really touched. I’ve read about his struggles before and I’m so glad that he’s opened up about it. I think the men of the world need more men to step up and discuss their struggles with mental illness just as much as women do. There is an imbalance I think, like you’ve noted, and it’s damaging the recovery process of some men who might feel that since not a lot have stepped up, that they are alone in their struggles, which just adds to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. I think I will be doing more features on men who are speaking up about their struggles. There is no such thing as “gender exclusive” issues when it comes to body image and mental health. Men can and do go through their own troubles and need to be able to vocalize them without the stigma of “acting like a girl”

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: The worst advice we’ve ever heard about depression & anxiety. – heyitsmeniki.

  9. People are so, so quick to forget that a photograph on the internet is NOT an inanimate object. It is connected to a living, breathing human being, who laughs and cries and breathes and sleeps and hurts and gets hungry and loves and feels.

    Every picture is someone’s child.

    Like

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