NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– The Internet is no stranger to poking fun at those who most vulnerable, but one victim of a body-shaming meme wasn’t going to take it quietly.
“Prison Break” actor Wentworth Miller responded to a viral image of him with a much more powerful message, explaining his experiences with depression and suicidal thoughts.
The picture, posted by The LAD Bible, shows the actor shirtless looking lean and muscular next to another image where he is heavier and clothed with the caption, “When you break out of prison and find out about McDonald’s monopoly…”
“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,” Miller wrote on Facebook responding to the image. “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.”
He went on to say that the weight gain was due to his need for a distraction from his mental state.
“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,” he wrote.
Miller said the photos were taken when he was on a hike, and that he didn’t realize paparazzi were circling. He said he was at first hurt by the ugly social media coverage of his weight gain but that he ultimately transformed that shame into pride.
“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.”
The star ended the post reaching out to anyone who is struggling with mental health problems saying, “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.”
LAD Bible has since apologized for posting the meme.
“We posted two pictures of you last night to our Facebook page, but today we want to say we’ve got this very, very wrong. 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,” they wrote on Facebook.