The complete article:
Earlier this year, Wentworth Miller was confronted with a painful image – an Internet meme that struck such an emotional chord that the actor decided to open up for the first time about the depression he’d battled his entire life.
“I was having a really strong emotional experience and I needed to get it out,” Miller tells PEOPLE exclusively of his decision to write a reactive Facebook post. “Articulating how I’m feeling, that’s a life-saving practice. And it’s part of my self-care.”
The meme featured two side by side photos of Miller, one from 2006 when he was in peak shape, and one from 2010, when the Prison Break star, semi-retired from acting, had gained weight. The caption read, “When you break out of prison and find out about the McDonald’s Monopoly.”
“I knew whoever was responsible didn’t know me or know anything about me,” Miller, 44, says now. “They didn’t have a clue what kinds of issues they were bringing up for me.”
Those issues were lifelong struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts. In 2010, when the second photo was taken, Miller had resorted to binge eating to make himself feel better. Amid everything else at that time, the actor, who also now stars on the CW’s Legends of Tomorrow, was also agonizing over another secret – he is gay, but hadn’t come out publicly.
Finally, after coming out in an open letter to the St. Petersburg Film Festival, in which he declined an offer to attend their event based on Russia’s treatment of the LGBT community, “I was grateful,” Miller says.
And since then, things have been looking up. The actor is filming the Prison Break reboot (which premieres next year) and says, “I haven’t experienced a major depressive episode in maybe three years,” he says. “I try to stay really aware of where I’m at and what’s up for me.”
Continues Miller: “And I’ll just emphasize how important it is to reach out if you think someone is in crisis. The tiniest gesture can have a huge impact. Just let them know they’re not alone. It can make a difference.”
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