Wentworth Miller talks about the power to assign meaning

In the last few days, an old photo of Wentworth Miller was posted on the net by some people looking for an easy joke.

It showed him in a red T-shirt in 2010 with quite a bit of extra weight on. Prompted by the appearance of this pic, Wentworth wrote an open letter to his fans, explaining that at the time it had been taken he had been suffering from depression, suicidal and at the lowest point he had ever been.

He also said: “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.”

The guys who posted the pic immediately apologised, saying “Mental health is no joke or laughing matter….we got this very wrong.”

Toni says “To be able to assign new meaning to our past is a difficult skill. Cognitive reframing (or restructuring as it is sometimes called) can be a lasting way to find peace with a difficult past. Wentworth does it with style and grace. 

As for the guys who posted the pic – I admire them for saying sorry. If only we would all stop buying those nasty magazines with zoomed-in pictures of cellulite and flabby tums…”