I’d like your attention please – #Blaugust Day 15
Content Warning/Trigger Warning: Depression, suicial thoughts, suicidality, suicidal ideation, attention-seeking behavior.
Some time ago, friendships on the internet were viewed as being “not real”. You know, because it’s just “people on the internet”. Which is not the case. The engagements that you have on the internet are very real. People have met spouses on the internet, as well as in video games like WoW. People have made life-long friendships on the internet. And the internet has saved people’s lives.
The thing is, our ability to engage with people who are more similar to us has changed with the internet. People are not able to find like-minded individuals in ways that they didn’t used to be able to. So people who once felt alone can find folks with whom they share a connection, or similar interests can find each other on the internet.
Now comes the hard stuff. When someone is depressed or suicidal, we tell them to seek help. One of the hardest things to do is to ask for help of any kind. Depression not only convinces you that no one gives a fuck about you, but it isolates you from those very people who do care about you. It keeps you from reaching out because it doesn’t make sense. We’ve seen it happen on twitter, where someone makes one final plea for help and the community rallies together to get information to the right people and hopefully get help to them as quickly as possible.
There is always some asshole who says that this is “attention-seeking behavior”. Yeah, no shit you fuckin’ dumbass.
It’s probably a safe bet to assume the jerkwad who makes these kinds of comments are the sort who have never experienced suicidal ideation or moderate-to-severe depression. For weeks and months and years people try to tell others that if they need help to ask for it, but then when someone does ask for help they’re dismissed as being an attention whore.
Do you even fuckin’ hear yourself?
OF COURSE THEY’RE SEEKING ATTENTION! THAT’S THE DAMN POINT!
Okay, okay, I’ll calm down a little bit. The thing is, depression fucks with the rational thinking portions of the brain in a similar way that anxiety does. The difference is that depression tells you how worthless you are, how no one cares about you, and that no one will miss you if you’re gone. It tells you that your friends are tired of hearing about your depression, and reassures you that they don’t care anyway. It keeps you there, isolated, away from people, because it’s easier to control you from that vantage point.
Depression doesn’t give a fuck about you or the people in your life. The people in your life give a fuck about you.
So seeking help and asking for attention is what should happen. Instead people think that it’s okay to tell folks to ask for help (seek attention) when they need it, but then turn around and shame them when they do.
Seriously, this has to stop. I think it needs to be understood that when someone asks for help, overtly or otherwise, it took a lot for them to do so. And it’s not a bad thing. It’s actually a good thing.
Every life matters. And we should seriously stop trying to make people think that attention-seeking is somehow terrible or bad.
Actually being an asshole is terrible and bad. How about stop doing that instead?
This post is part of the #Blaugust series.