Imagine you woke up this morning and your world had changed.
When I say the world, I mean the world’s perception of you.
You haven’t changed. You’re still the same old…same old…you.
But something rather weird had happened.
Someone…you’re not sure who…but it’s certainly someone with a lot of clout…has started a small fire with the spark of an idea that you’re attention seeking.
It sounds pretty innocuous, doesn’t it?
What do they mean by that?
What are they saying about you?
What are they saying about themselves?
You’re a smart kind of individual, so you look it up. You can’t find it in the library – so you try the Internet.
There…well, there you can’t find anything definite. There’s no clear outline of what that person must have meant when they said,
‘You are an attention seeker.’
But as sure as eggs is eggs, that label when attributed to someone, anyone, isn’t remotely positive.
It has taken no time at all for this spark of an idea to become a fire, to roar out of control as it leaps from person to person…some professional, some family…some friends…colleagues…people in the pub…folk in your local shop…neighbours…
Because there’s no accurate definition of ‘attention seeking’, each person has a different notion of what it means.
Try it yourself. Do you know anyone who’s attention seeking?
What reliable source told you about person X’s ‘attention seekingness’ ?
What did they mean by it?
What do YOU mean by it?
Who have you told?
Ok, let’s go back to the beginning. You’ve been labelled as attention seeking.
Suddenly everything you do is seen as attention seeking.
Even saying you’re not attention seeking is seen as attention seeking.
There really is no way out of this labyrinth – the harder you try to escape, the deeper and deeper you fall into this infinite whirlpool.
The reason I’m banging on about this so energetically (some might say, grammatically incorrectly, attention seekingly) is that this is a label that is often attributed to people who’ve been bestowed with the same mental malady as me.
BP bastard D
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), is an oft used label for people who we don’t like….or, in the case of an array of American Cop Shows, the person wot dunnit.
Adding ‘attention seeking’ to an already negative label isn’t, what I’d call, entirely useful.
You can play this at home – get a friend to give you the label for a day…suddenly every single thing you do has a negative connotation.
I might be wrong – I’ve been wrong before, although I don’t tend to advertise that. Call it er…unattention seeking….but
I believe there is no label in the world of psychiatry, health care, social care, or general name calling that is more negative, stigmatising and ultimately discriminating than ‘Attention Seeking’
It’s a label with no way out. There is no escape.
It is utterly, utterly useless.
It helps no-one.
Don’t use it!
If someone you know describes someone with the label, challenge them.
‘What do you mean by that?’
‘How can person X ever escape that label?
What do they need to do to be not attention seeking?’
As a mental exercise you could ask, ‘Aren’t we all attention seeking?’
Walk a mile