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When You’re Suicidal With a History of 'Seeking Attention'

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I have a history of seeking attention from others, so it’s difficult for me to reach out to people when I’m struggling. When I vent to loved ones I wonder, am I talking because I need help or because I like the attention I get? Am I reaching out to this friend because I am in need or because I am in need of validation?

Because I let my support people know about the attention-seeking, I worry when I reach out to them they will question me as well. This often leads to me crying on the floor of my room, wondering if it will be more harmful to deal with my feelings on my own or risk losing the trust of a support person by making them question my motives. It’s painful to have a history of “seeking-attention.”

So when I begin to feel suicidal, I face a delicate dilemma of whether the feelings are “real” or if I’m looking for attention. Even I don’t usually know what my true motives are. Do I reach out for help or ride the wave out?

I don’t exactly have an answer. While I know it’s better to be safe then sorry, some days I simply cannot bring myself to reach out to someone I trust. Sometimes the feeling passes and I’m fine; other days I feel like I may act on my thoughts. It seems like I’ll never know when my mind is serious and when it’s attention-starved.

So to those of you who know about my attention-seeking behaviors, if I reach out to you, please always assume I’m serious. I’m working things out in therapy, so you are not feeding into my need for attention. Don’t ever ask me if I’m doing something for attention because honestly I probably don’t have an answer, and you’ll just end up invalidating my feelings. And please, continue to assure me you will always be there for me.

No matter whether you have a history of negative attention-seeking or not, always seek help. Even if you’re doing something for attention, there’s an underlying reason why that needs to be addressed. Whenever you’re feeling suicidal, reach out for professional help. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Originally published: July 5, 2016
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