Sometimes I will send annoying texts, repetitively poke someone (in a non-sexual manner) or just generally behave in an annoying and obnoxious manner. Sometimes I just simply but my head into the person like a dog wanting love. When any of these things happen it is because my attention light is blinking.This is an actual system that has somehow gradually developed with my friends and family. I can just tell them now that my attention light is blinking and that I require love and affection. I can be quite a needy person… when I’m not busy being completely aloof.I always justify my need for attention by explaining that I have Attention Deficit Disorder and so really, by receiving attention from others they’re really just helping me with my deficit…
These days, attention seeking has negative connotations. If we seek too much attention we’re called “attention whores”. If a Facebook post is overtly emotional we say the person is just looking for attention like it’s a bad thing. Or the one I hate the most… how self-harming is a cry for attention, which in a sense can sometimes be true but it is too often said in a way that trivializes the persons actions.
I know I’m not the only person who has had these thoughts, I’m pretty sure I read a blog on this very subject not too long ago (and to whoever blog’s it is I apologise, I couldn’t find the article again to reference it). But I whole heartedly agree that asking for attention should not be considered a bad thing. We all need attention and we should all be willing to give our attention to others. Sometime’s all a person needs is to feel noticed, and if a person feels the need to hurt themselves in order to be noticed… I’d say they’re entitled to ask for some attention.
Don’t be afraid to ask for attention when you need it, and don’t be stingey with your attention when you see someone else crying out for it. Let’s all be a little bit more giving, and a little bit more loving.
I just came from watching The Secret Life of Pets with my mother. Which was an interesting experience since there were a lot of other kids there with their parents as well. Only difference was the children were about 20 years younger than me. Still, I’m young at heart. Besides, nothing cheers me up more than animated anthropomorphised animals going on wacky adventures.
I also got a massive metal bucket full of sweet ‘n salty popcorn which was awesome, and I’m going to keep it as my future sick bucket… because I get sick more often than I eat popcorn and every household needs a decent sick bucket.
Anyways, I digress. My point is that there was a poignant moment in the movie where Max is swimming for his little doggie life towards a life saver and Duke is cheering him on by saying. (This may be paraphrased as I don’t remember the quote exactly):
“Keep going! You’re doing great! Well, not really… But you’re not drowning so that’s something!”
And there, right in that small moment… contained the perfect metaphor for struggling with an illness, mental or otherwise. Because half the battle is keeping your head above water.
So When you’re being hard on yourself because you haven’t got much done that day, or that week… or that month. Just remember: You’re not drowning… so that’s something.
My therapist has been insistent that I try mindfulness. Now I’m no stranger to meditation, it’s something I’ve practised many times. I like to think its something I was quite good at… but lately this is not the case. My shrink suggested this app called Headspace, which gives guided mindfulness meditation exercises. It’s actually a pretty neat little app and I’m sure it works great… if only I could get through a session without crying 5 minutes in.
“You cry?” she ask’s with genuine bewilderment.
I nod. “Well then you can’t be genuinely in the moment, you shouldn’t be thinking of anything.”
“I’m not! Other than breathing and “the feel of the floor against the soles of my feet” I reply, maybe a little on the defensive side… “Well, um, obviously you have some deep-seated emotions you need to work through”
I slow blink at her, I know this, this is one of the very reasons I go to therapy.
This woman is not instilling me with much confidence.
I think the issue with mindfulness is the fact that it brings you into the present moment, and I am presently sad. That’s kinda what depression does, being a day dreamer has always been my escape. I find being present in the moment and myself exhausting and somewhat… well, depressing.
I think, instead of mindfulness I will try Mindlessness. This article in The Guardian explains that “Mindlessness operates on the basis that your mind and body already know how to take care of themselves.” It goes on to say that “To be truly mindless, you need to rely on a combination of snap judgments, uninformed intuition and absent-minded daydreaming. All the things I’m best at, in fact.” Which honestly sounds much more my steam at the moment. In fact, I would say I already have mindlessness down to an art form.
However for the sake of my dear shrink I will give the mindfulness the old college try. Perhaps I can get to a point where I don’t start sobbing uncontrollably to guided meditations… I’d take that as a win.
On second thought, maybe there is some benefit to just engaging with sobbing for no apparent reason… I call it Sadfulness meditation. I could hold classes in sobbing, wailing and generalised despair, they always say misery loves company.
I may just start my own movement…