TikTokers Use Secret Code “I Had Pasta Tonight” as a Cry for Help. Here’s What It Really Means.

pasta tonight

Though TikTok was originally designed for lip syncs, dances, and funny video clips, there is a darker side to the popular app, as is the case with many social media platforms.

“TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video,” the company states on its website. “Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy.”

However, more recently, the app is being used as a cry for help.

Users are starting to use the phrase “I had pasta tonight” as a secret code that the person is struggling with depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts.

While society has made some headway in regard to understanding the complexities and seriousness of mental health, a major stigma surrounding it still remains. Thus, it can make mental health struggles a very difficult topic to discuss openly, especially because of how vulnerable it can make a person feel.

Nothing is quite as painful as baring your bleeding soul, only to have it torn apart by social media trolls who don’t understand your condition.

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In addition to the phrase “I had pasta tonight,” captions like “I finished my shampoo and conditioner at the same time” are acting as codes for help.
A Reddit user has theorized that the phrases that may be perceived odd at initial glance are derived from a Wattpad post entitled, “Don’t kill yourself today,” by Hannah Dains.

The post also offers other seemingly trivial, but profound reasons to keep hanging on… as they provide little rays of hope and joy amidst darkness:

“Don’t kill yourself today because your Netflix free trial still has a week left,” says Dains in another blurb. “Don’t kill yourself today because I know for a fact Starbucks is introducing a new frappuccino sometime next month.”

What’s been particularly powerful about the “I had pasta tonight” viral movement, has been the remarkable outpouring of support in the comments.

One viral TikTock that received over 3 million views and 60,000 comments simply read, “Told my mom about my favorite pasta recipe and she made it for dinner tonight.”

One user’s profound comment summed up the beautiful display of compassion that took place on that love-filled forum:

“This comment section is my new therapy. Thank you.”

The commenters clearly felt a sense of camaraderie and inner-healing through connecting with those who shared similar struggles.

“You haven’t come this far to only come this far,” one user posted, in response to the viral post.

Another simply wrote, “You’re so loved.”

“I love you all so much it’s beyond words,” the original poster wrote in response to the beautiful outpouring of support. “Thank you so much.”

Gen Z is currently the most at-risk generation for mental illness according to the CDC. The suicide rate for ages 10 to 24 has escalated by 56% over the course of a decade. Let’s be part of the solution.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Kelsey Straeter
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Kelsey is an editor at Outreach. She’s passionate about fear fighting, freedom writing, and the pursuit of excellence in the name of crucifying perfectionism. Glitter is her favorite color, 2nd only to pink, and 3rd only to pink glitter.