“Knives Out” star LaKeith Stanfield gave us all a scare when he posted a cryptic post on Instagram in a now deleted post. The last post had a picture of an open pill bottle and he wrote, “Bottoms Up.” He also wrote:
I like to be by myself because I can hurt myself and no one tells me to stop or fakes like they care
Outside is crazy imma just stay inside form now on
Reality is boring and moves too slow and no one is trustworthy
He reached out about his feelings and everyone responded with concern. I know what it’s like to put it out there when you’re having certain thoughts and feelings — only to wish you could take it back after. After an outpouring of support and concern, he retracted his post and reassured everyone that he was not hurting himself:
I’m okay everyone! I appreciate everyone checking in on me but I’m good. I am not harming myself I am good
Just got confirmation Lakeith is okay. Sorry if I overreacted. Okay getting off Twitter for awhile. Text or DM someone you haven’t texted or DM’ed in awhile and tell them a cool memory you have about them. Good night.
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) August 11, 2020
People came rushing in again, and I know how that can be very overwhelming. Your intention is just to express yourself. You didn’t mean to elicit such a response.
I think about the times I needed an urgent response and didn’t get anything that was helpful. People put on Facebook, “If you are struggling, here is the suicide hotline.” They do not however say call me, or actually call me.
We’ve become so accustom to giving lip service to support others in a crisis, and I’m concerned that, deep down, fear is involved. We think:
“What if we ask about suicide and it plants the idea?”
“What if they ask for something from me I cannot deliver?” “
What if they get attached and I cannot set good boundaries?”
“What if I am wrong?”
You cannot make someone think of suicide if they are not suicidal just by asking about it, and I can tell you from personal experience that, for me, being asked helps. You do not have to be the only one who helps, you can only give what you are capable of giving. Everyone can deliver something, even if it is just a listening ear. Good boundaries are important in any relationship — and it is better to be wrong than not to have intervened at all. Anyone should appreciate being cared about.
I try to avoid “vague booking” and insinuating I am hurting without any context, but social media is seductive. You believe you are in conversations with others on the page and you want to reach out. You want to know people are listening. That someone anyone cares. LaKeith gave us all the opportunity to evaluate how we communicate our needs and fears on social media and how we respond to those that do.
I would encourage you, if you need help, to find the courage to ask directly. People are willing to listen. Be direct and ask for what you need — you might just get it.
Try and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI.org) support group. They have one called NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group (they are now currently online so anyone from anywhere can access them). It’s a great group that has made a major difference in my life. I met people at different points in their journey and they helped me see that recovery is possible. I also felt I could help others and that I was not alone. There is help there and The Mighty is here for you, too. Look into some of their online chats and support groups.