A change. Constance Wu revealed that she stayed in a mental hospital after backlash to a series of tweets regarding Fresh Off the Boat. In her new book, Making a Scene, she talks about how the Twitter backlash affected her mental health.
Back in 2019, Fresh Off the Boat was renewed for season six, and Constance Wu infamously tweeted, “So upset that I’m literally crying.” While she later clarified that she was just upset that FOTB‘s renewal meant turning down another exciting project—many netizens attacked the actress for appearing ungrateful for the opportunity as a working actress. The breaking point for Constance was when another Asian actress emailed her and told her “that nothing I could ever do would make up for my atrocious behavior and disgusting ingratitude. How I had sullied the one shining beacon of hope for Asian Americans. How selfish I was to not consider everyone else’s jobs on the show,” Constance claims in Making a Scene. “She demanded I bake cookies for and grovel at the feet of [my co-star] Randall [Park] and every single crew member of FOTB but said even that wouldn’t be enough to make up for what I’d done. She told me how the show had been her nephew’s favorite, and how I had ruined it for him. That I’d devastated him and I would never, ever be able to make up for it.”
Constance wrote about how the experience caused her to break down and “feel helpless and desperate, my heart full of sharp tacks.” She continued, “My head spinning, I realized I needed a wound to prove it, to prove that I hurt as bad as everyone said I deserved to hurt and it couldn’t be a little wound, it had to be the biggest wound in the world for it to be enough.” She wrote about how it made her feel and sinister thoughts that almost led to a suicide attempt. “That’s how I ended up clutching the balcony railing of my fifth-floor apartment and staring wildly down at the NYC street below with a reckless despair so total that my body ceased being a body and became a sound so dangerously high-pitched it was like nails on a chalkboard or a violin string pulled tight enough to cut flesh,” she continued. “The sound coursed through me and out of my fingertips like electricity as I started pulling myself over the railing.”
Her friend found her moments before it was too late. The friend then put her in a cab, called her publicist and made Constance stay in the psych ward at a hospital. She recalled, “I was dizzy, my puffy eyes blurred by tear-engorged contact lenses, my mouth pasty with unbrushed teeth, my hair in shambles because they even took away my hair elastics for fear I’d hurt myself with them. I spent that night on a cot in the empty waiting room, under surveillance. Weeping until the exhaustion wore me out. The next morning, I told the two intake counselors what happened. That I almost jumped. That I’m very impulsive… That I needed help.”
Constance looks back at the moment as a “filtering mechanism rather than a setback” to show who was really there for her instead of those “swayed by false rumors or social media numbers.” She apologized to the cast and crew of Fresh Off the Boat when they filmed season six and they responded with love. “Fresh Off the Boat changed my life, but not in the way you might expect,” she wrote “Sure, it got me out of debt and launched my career, but what really changed my life for the better was the hard stuff. The social media backlash and hospital stay made me finally get help. I found a therapist who’d worked with high-profile actresses and musicians and understood my unusual circumstances.”
If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or call 911.
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