It's Not About Attention, It's About Action

BY MARY ELHAKAM

“Attention whore.” That’s what I was called when I asked for help...

In 2013, over 40,000 people committed suicide in the United States alone. It’s the second leading cause of death for adolescents. According to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), it is estimated that there is a suicide attempt once every 13 minutes in the United States. An estimated quarter million people become suicide survivors every year.

I was diagnosed with ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, BPD and bulimic tendencies when I was 12 years old, and I’m currently in recovery. People who know me personally know I fight hard for the things I believe in -- that I’m loud, vocal, and I take a stand for what I believe is right. My goal is to let people know who go through these things that they can talk to me, that I understand what they are going through, and that they can make it through. My second goal is to get the term “attention whore” wiped out.

To think I could have become a statistic. “Attention whore.” That’s what I was called when I asked for help. There's a double standard in our society where suicide and mental illness are conditions to be ashamed about, yet people romanticize suicide, self-harm and mental disorders every day in books or movies, entertainment and tv shows. From the view of someone with a bit of a diagnosis herself, I always get very irritated when people romanticize depression, anxiety or self harm, as if these are “cool” or “fashionable” identities.

According to the bystander theory, when one person takes an action, surrounding people are more inclined to do the same. By being open and accepting, we can encourage others to do the same. Eventually, these hurtful terms and views will lose their power. It doesn’t matter how small you are; you can change something.


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