Mental health stigma

The Stigma on Mental Health and Attention Seeking

Photo bt Lucxama Sylvian

“She doesn’t want to sit with us today. Leave her alone, she’s just seeking attention.” “Apparently he feels lonely. Lonely from what? He’s just looking for attention.” “She’s apparently not feeling well, but doesn’t know what’s wrong. That girl likes attention.” “She’s apparently going to see a therapist. Wow, the extreme that people can go just to get attention”….and..and..and. These were the common phrases I grew up hearing that taught me one thing: “Whatever you’re feeling that may seem different and you don’t understand, DO NOT TALK ABOUT IT! You don’t want to be known as the attention seeker”.

So what did I do? I learned to talk louder so that the high pitch in my voice could distract anyone from hearing the cracks in my speech. I learned to walk really fast so that no one could ever see my legs trembling from fear. And I learned to laugh the loudest so that no one could ever realize the confusion that was underlined beneath my eyes and embarrassment I felt towards my own feelings. Whatever it took, I was determined not to be the girl who “seek attention”.

This is my story. A single individual. How many more stories have our societies created for millions of more people simply because they rejected brain dysfunctions as essential issues? How many more stories of alcohol, drug, and sex addictions have our societies created for people simply because they refused therapists as crucial professionals in every community? How many more stories have our societies ended way too soon because the only options we offered was suicide?

Be an attention seeker!

If I could go back and tell pre-teen and teenage me one thing, it would be this: “Be an attention seeker!” Fine, lets accept that people with brain dysfunctions are attention seekers. What is so wrong about seeking attention when you need help? Individuals who have diabetes seek attention from their health care providers to manage their blood sugar levels. Those who break their legs seek attention from the surgeons. Those with (I could go on forever here, but I’m sure you get my point by now). So why do we put a negative connotation on attention-seeking when it comes to individuals with brain disorders??

It took me a good year and couple of months to create this blog. Procrastination was definitely part of the reason (it’s hard to have an all-or-nothing personality). Still, a big part of this was that I was afraid that I may lose control over my anxiety again because people would simply think I’m just “seeking attention”. But, you know what, YES, I’M SEEKING ATTENTION. I’m seeking more attention for those who battle with mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorders. I’m seeking more attention for those who suffer from anxiety. I’m seeking more attention for those who battle with OCD, PTSD and eating disorders. We live in a sick society that needs help. I hope soon enough, we become more receptive and approachable to the friend who says they feel alone. And we do not shame them for the chemical imbalances that are occurring in their brain.

It’s all cool and “woke” when the post is an inspirational quote like “The greatest wealth is health”. But God forbid that you actually speak about the health.

I now understand the society I grew up in. Technology was not what it is today. I couldn’t dream of spending more than 2hours on the internet then, let alone a whole day because the internet package we had then was limited. School curriculums were outdated, and we barely had any social workers provided at schools. Research was limited, and only a few had access to this information. But today, I fail to understand why this is still something relevant to write about. How is this even a topic of discussion in this decade? In today’s world, you’re all cool and “woke” when you can post some “inspirational quote” on mental health, but God forbid that anyone actually displays their own voice.

What was before, isn’t what should be today and definitely not what must be tomorrow!

If the world ever wrote your story for you, I hope you can find the courage to rewrite it yourself from here forth. And I hope it’s going to be a beautiful one.

Until next time, leaving you with all that good-good mental health vibes…xx

3 thoughts on “The Stigma on Mental Health and Attention Seeking”

  1. You are talented, what an interesting piece, I am surely learning a lot from you, reading your posts feels soo natural!

    It’s time we started taking note that people are not just “looking for attention” but rather offer the attention they need!

    Like

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