Attention Seeking

Why does it seem so bad?

Disclaimer, in this article I will not be talking about those with HPD (histrionic personality disorder) 

Content Warning- Mental Health, Suicide

Attention seeking gets a bad rap. When people think of attention seekers, they think of those people who use things such as depression, to get attention. While that may be true, it has a very negative connotation. My question is, why? 

We see broken people as lesser than us.

The reason someone might perform an act that most would view as attention seeking (for example posting suicidal thoughts on social media, saying you're ugly etc.) is because they crave the attention. Why do we view it as terrible and wrong? It's because we mainly find it annoying. The issue is, is that those who attention seek, are doing it because they are desperately asking for help. If they say they're suicidal but have been for years and have yet to end their lives, people begin to lose interest and ignore their pleads simply because they do not believe that that person will in fact, end their existence. The enormous issue is that just because some may be depressed or have an eating disorder etc, doesn't mean that if they don't plan on committing suicide, their mental health does not matter. When one says it like that, of course it makes sense. However many do not view their actions that way. 

I find we do this because we get annoyed with the constant moping and depression. We view them as an inconvenience. This is why they get such a bad rap. Usually those people are inherently taught the only way they can receive the help they need is through attention on social media. This is fundamentally conditioned in all of us through technology and social media. We all contribute to this conditioning. This is a systemic issue. We no longer teach our children that to get help, we need to talk in person to those around us. We need to communicate. Instead of teaching children that fundamental skill, we don't teach them at all. Instead, social media teaches them. If you think about it, it makes sense. You have an increase in dopamine when it comes to social media. In other words our body's "happy chemical." With that increase in dopamine, we associate happiness (dopamine) with likes on our profile pictures and comments from family and friends on how good we look. Now this in itself, is not a bad thing. However, if this is the ONLY source of dopamine one receives, then that is the only way they can achieve a sense of satisfaction. Which leads us to our attention-seekers. 

Now that their motives and science is explained, it leaves us with the mindset society has with these people. In other words, the stigma. We need to erase this stigma and actually help these people. Some people are beyond help, which is why we need to better ourselves in society. We have to teach everyone, either from a young age or those who are already adults, that they can stimulate their dopamine in other ways than on social media. This is wildly easier said than done, even I struggle with it daily. Sometimes it proves very difficult to stray away from social media, and get satisfaction in our physical realities. Especially since dopamine stimulants are difficult to come by when you're depressed. 

Attention-seekers do not exist simply to annoy you, they have reason for posting what they do on social media. If they treat their profile as a diary then that's their choice, and we need to stray away from these conservative thoughts that we are not allowed to post what we are going through simply because some find it too personal to have out in the open. Even when it's not on social media, we have to break the uncomfortable barrier that keeps us from having real conversations about difficult topics.

We are all the same, sometimes we deal with things differently like resorting to social media. However that does not make that person lesser than those who choose to remain secretive. 

Once you realize how much you are enabling this sort of situation, then it becomes much easier to help this kind of issue and better this world by helping others and teaching them that they can be happy outside of their profiles. 

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