‘I had pasta tonight’ becomes TikTok code for feeling suicidal
1st July 2020

Italian comfort food has taken on a whole new meaning.

The phrase “I had pasta tonight” has become code for experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts on the short-video platform TikTok loved by Gen Z. The innocuous-seeming statement and slight variations on it are now a way platform users can signal for help and support without being blunt.

“Told my mom about my favorite pasta recipe and she made it for dinner tonight,” user @kaityjane2 captions a video of herself, which has received over 3 million likes and 61,000 responses — many of them heartwarming.

“[There’s] so many dogs you haven’t pet yet,” comments one viewer as a way of illustrating there are good things yet to come.

“Wait wait wait but have you tried EVERY ice cream flavor?” writes another.

The outpouring of support has proved heartening not just for the clip’s creator, but also for those reading through the empathetic messages. “This comment section is my new therapy. Thank you,” writes one person touched by the humanity of the responses.

The TikTok trend, one Reddit user says, is inspired by a poem published on the platform Wattpad. Called “Don’t Kill Yourself Today,” the poem lists a variety of relatable reasons why life is worth continuing, including “Don’t kill yourself until you tell someone your best pasta recipe” and “don’t kill yourself until you finish your shampoo and conditioner at the same time.”

Finishing your shampoo and conditioner at the same time has also become a code for dark feelings on the platform. “I finished my shampoo and conditioner,” user @notrllyem captions a video. In the comments section, viewers duly do their best to uplift her.

“Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want me to do to myself,” writes one concerned commenter.

“But you haven’t had a sleepover on your roof or fallen asleep around a campfire w your friends or met your favorite singer,” writes another.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis, call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

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