This is a different topic than what I normally chronicle here, but I felt it was worthwhile to tell this story.
I was reading about something trending on Facebook involving actor Wentworth Miller. He’s currently playing a character named Leonard Snart/Captain Cold in a DC Comics inspired TV show called Legends of Tomorrow, although he first appeared as this character in The Flash (what can I say, I’m a comic book nerd). I also understand he’s probably best known for his work in the TV show Prison Break.
Apparently, there’s a meme going around social media showing “before and after” photos of Miller. The before is when he was lean and cut, seemingly a promotional photo from his “Prison Break” show. The latter was taken in 2010, a year after the show ended, depicting Miller as having gained significant weight.
This is part of Miller’s Facebook response:
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.
If the Facebook link doesn’t work for some reason, you can find the same information in this news article.
I just learned, although I guess it’s old news, that Bruce Springsteen has suffered from depression and was suicidal.
There’s a lot that goes on inside a person that you will never see or hear about unless they tell you or show you. We all want the rest of the world to believe we’re “normal” and don’t have problems and are doing fine.
In most cases, that’s a lie. No, it doesn’t mean everyone is walking around depressed and suicidal, but it does mean we all struggle, some more than others. You just never know who in your life may need your help.
Another person on Facebook posted a link to Ten Controversial Affirmations For Those Who Choose to Fight Depression, so apparently she’s had to confront her demons, too.
And quite by “coincidence,” I came across the following quote this morning:
“They rise to the Heavens and descend to the depths; their souls melt for fear of harm (Psalm 107:26).”
If we were permitted to design the course of our lives, we would undoubtedly eliminate all crises. Indeed, if we were given the authority to design the course of the world, we would eliminate many types of unpleasantness, both physical and emotional.
However, we did not design the world, and so we must adapt to its laws. Everyone has crises; some are major, some are minor. If we triumph over a certain crisis, we ascend to a new strength of character. If we succumb to the crisis, we lose character strength.
Very often, triumph consists of making a change, and failure consists of being adamant and continuing to do things as before. That resistance to change often comes from fear. We feel more secure with what is familiar, and so we plod along the familiar path even though it may be ruinous.
“I will fear no evil, for You are with me” (Psalms 23:4). Faith and trust in God will give us a sense of security and the courage to take advantage of the opportunities for growth that are contained in a crisis, and instead of descending into the depths, we can rise to new heights.
Today I shall …
consider a crisis an opportunity for growth, and with trust in God have the courage to make constructive changes in my life.
–Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski
I know I’ve said on this blogspot that exercise might be better than seeing a shrink, but that option won’t always work for everyone, or at best, exercise could be only part of a person’s solution to depression and suicidal ideation.
Miller posted some links at the bottom of his Facebook message and I’m passing them along here:
And because I live in Idaho, I’m adding a link to the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline.
I learned the following poem when I was 19 years old, and, as you might imagine, that was a very long time ago. I’m not normally into poetry these days, but this one speaks to today’s message:
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
–John Donne, 1624
Everyone’s fighting a hard battle. Maybe you can make it a little easier for someone.
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.