When I Want Attention

I write my blog not only for neurotypicals trying to understand my blog but also for my fellow neuroatypicals. On twitter, I have met a number of my brethren, be they fellow autistics, depressives, or other myriad issues. They are the finest of souls. I’ve come to notice a common thing. Whenever we all have an episode of our mental situation, we all hear one sentence that inflames us: “you just want attention.”

I’ve heard it before. I’ve heard it a lot. After all, I throw fits when I’m having trouble expressing myself. Of course I face that accusation. It makes sense, maybe more so than what I’m actually trying to say. I’m certainly being loud after all. I’m trying to be heard. I MUST want attention.

WRONG.

This applies to countless situations too, not just fits. How often does the depressive hear they’re just “throwing a pity party?” Quite a bit sadly. Depression sufferers often get treated as if they’re just dwelling on it for attention when the truth couldn’t be further from it. Furthermore, they don’t want puffery. They know their own value. They’re just not feeling very high on it. And for the love of all there is, do not tell a depressive to stop being depressed. It’s the first thing we’d do if we could. Depression is a form of hell after all.

Here is what we want in an episode: we want help. We want to be validated and told it’s ok we hurt. Unless you really understand, don’t tell us you do. We want to know that the situation sucks and that it’s not wrong to see it. If you’re going to suggest a solution, make it a real one, Tell us some things we can actually do.

And understand this: we want attention for the good things we do. I’m a writer. If I get attention for this post, I will be very happy because this is something I’ve worked on. If I do a good job at work, that rules. If I look sharp today, great. I want attention for the good things I do. In truth I’d rather ignore the darker side of my life. If I express it, I’m only trying to reach out. I’ve mentioned my friends. When they’re in crisis, I try to treat them as I wish to be treated.

That’s the hope. That we can do unto others as we do unto ourselves.

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