“In the end, one needs more courage to live than to kill oneself”. Suicide and depression are pretty heavy topics and are found to be distasteful to talk about or to deal with openly. People are encouraged to be vocal about their struggles but are pinned as attention-seeking when they do so. Before we label people as attention-seeking, let’s stop for a moment and contemplate whether it’s a cry for attention or help. The girl you see at the back of your class with cuts on her arms. Did she in any possible way do it to look cool or just so someone would notice that she’s going through a hard time and talk to her about it? Maybe it’s not about attention, maybe it’s about sympathy. Read further to know that are you suicidal or attention-seeking or not?
Is the need for sympathy and attention the same thing?
In a way, yes. But it digs deeper than just a simple yes. The need for attention co-relates to more than just wanting to be the center of attention. It’s not the positive kind of attention you get when people find out you’re suicidal. It’s the need for sympathy and comfort a person is looking for just for someone to trust and confide in. It’s not attention-seeking, maybe it’s an attempt to communicate pain in a way you can communicate your pain. And it doesn’t have to be labeled as a negative thing.
People posting sad quotes on their social media are often mocked for this behavior. Society is a funny entity to be a part of. On one hand, people are encouraged to be vulnerable and are applauded for it. On the other hand, they are ridiculed for it.
The role of age
When you ask people the same question, “whether someone is suicidal or just attention seeking?”, most of them will reply with “It depends on how old they are.” I believe this mentality to be a toxic one that disregards the feelings of the younger members of society. The notion that younger kids pretend to be depressed just to get attention because they don’t have real problems is a problematic one. There is no textbook which denies depression and suicidal behavior in kids. Puberty can be a hard time. It’s when a lot of things are changing around you and inside you. Change is not limited to your body; it extends to academics, relationships with family, friends, and a million other things in your life. Many teens go through their first relationships and breakups, begin to realize parental pressure and things become overall overwhelming.
Your feelings are valid.
To put it scientifically, depression is the cause of suicides. Depression is nothing but a deficiency of a hormone named serotonin in your body. It’s as simple as that. Factors such as trauma, genetics, gender, certain medications, and conflict affect it.
Symptoms could include changes in appetite, sleeping patterns, weight loss/ weight gain, feeling of numbness, losing interest in things that used to interest you, social withdrawal, etc. If you feel these symptoms are present and persistent and also have an urge to end your life, then no, you’re not attention-seeking. You’re just suicidal.
Another symptom you may not be aware of that comes with depression is the feeling of guilt and worthlessness. Thoughts like “other people have it worse than me”, “or why am I so ungrateful” might penetrate your brain regularly.
It doesn’t matter if you’re self-harming, or just thinking about self-harming. Even if you are self-harming, whether it’s for attention or because you just want to do it because you’re sad. You require help. Because either way, this is unhealthy behavior. Suicidal words and behavior require quick and compassionate intervention.
Some people impend or attempt suicide as a despairing way of bringing it to their loved ones’ knowledge that they are suffering and want help. They may be unable to communicate their thoughts in any other manner, or they may assume that no one cares or can help them. Individuals who are suicidal require immediate care and help. Suicidal words and behavior require quick and compassionate intervention.
Some people threaten or attempt suicide as a desperate way of letting others know they are suffering, are unable to cope, and want assistance. They may be unable to communicate their thoughts in any other manner, or they may assume that no one cares or can assist them.
Why do people self-harm?
While some people self-harm to express their sadness, it can also be done for a variety of other reasons. To help them to feel when they are emotionally numb; to distract themselves from the emotional anguish they are experiencing; to control themselves emotionally; to punish themselves, or to disfigure themselves are some of these causes. Self-harm doesn’t necessarily mean that people want to end their lives and existence. However, people who engage in self-harm have a higher risk of suicide, which increases as the number of self-harm events increases. As a result, self-harm poses a significant risk and should not be mistaken for attention-seeking.
It is known that self-harm is most common among individuals younger in age, usually between the ages of 12 and 24 years, but it is essential to be open-minded and to comprehend that anyone presenting in an unusual mental state, acting off, with an injury including cuts and bruises may be self-harming. Self-harm is a maladaptive coping technique used to reduce uncomfortable sensations or convey discomfort in the majority of cases. Childhood abuse is believed to accompany an increased likelihood of self-harm, as well as early fatalities and tense dealings and affairs. In terms of personality disorders, it is predicted that around three-quarters of people with BPD will self-harm at some point in their lives.
Depression, suicide, and self-harm are all linked. Suicide is the last resort and self-harm is the road to it. If you see any signs of self-harm on anyone, try to be there for them. Listen to them, have a conversation about it, and make it clear that they’re not alone. If you are someone who indulges in self-harm, reach out for help. Understand how dangerous it is and know that your life matters. If you know someone who wants to end it all, don’t guilt them into not doing it, as it’s only going to make it worse. Ask them to stay for them and not because someone else is going to be miserable if they don’t. It gets better.