Monday, 23 June 2008

Attention Seeking

As I walked home this afternoon the sun was shining. Earlier in the day, we'd been talking about wine. I couldn't help myself; this afternoon I gave into Westy's pleas and headed to the pub for a much needed cold glass of Pinot Grigio.
One glass lead to two. Two glasses lead to the pub quiz. Three glasses lead to us losing the pub quiz. And then it was time for home.

We got chatting.

Despite my usual, over-opinionated self, I am finding it hard to decide how exactly I feel about a recent topic of conversation. I can't quite sort things in my head and decide what my opinion in.
A friend of mine, of ours, has recently taken her (ex)boyfriend to court, alleging that he has hit her. Of course gossip has run wild and it is a frequent conversation topic. Instead of discussing the weather when the conversation runs dry, we discuss the ins and outs of this messed up situation.
Although I cannot deny that I usually know, and spread, most gossip, I feel uncomfortable about this.
Usually gossip involves alcohol, and someone kissing someone, or someone's girlfriend finding out about someone. Usually something hilariously trivial that isn't going to wreck lives. But this... well, it's fucked up. It has the potential to majorly fuck things up for a lot of people.
I just don't want to take sides - even though the gossip is in favour of one side of the story. I can't help thinking of ifs and buts, and probably looking for more ifs and buts to stop people being so judgemental and condemning their (former?) friend.

The story is much more complicated than I would ever divulge in this journal, so please don't attempt to assume where this is going, or what the background story is. But it got me thinking:

When someone "tries to kill themself" it is either put down to them being an absolute nutcase and in need of immediate help, or simply dismissed as them being "an attention seeker". It's as if looking for attention is just shrugged off and everyone's fed up with it. I've always taken issue with this stance, because I've always felt that, if someone is looking for attention, there is probably a reason why. And so you should probably give them that attention, to find out what the reason is?

Growing up in Leamington, I have been surrounded by "attention seekers", and I am probably one of them, although not to the same extent of some of the worst culprits. Kids in Leamington generally have too much money and happy lives, so they create their own drama to spice things up a bit. If you've read the past few years of this journal you'll understand how much drama I've managed to stir up, without even really meaning to. But my drama has always been low-key and boy-related; never anything to really cause anyone else any damage (other than a bruised heart).
I had a friend who cut her wrists and burnt herself with cigarettes to leave scars, another friend over-dosed on a few paracetamol,  someone else's ex-girlfriend cut her wrists in front of him and he ended up on the phone to me in tears. I doubt any of these people ever meant to kill themselves; they just wanted a bit of attention. And attention they got.

So... if someone does something outrageously stupid, is it ok to dismiss it as "they're just attention seeking", or should you give them the attention they so clearly crave? Just because you know they're not actually planning on ending their life, does that mean you shouldn't take them seriously, or give them some kind of care?

Then there's the whole subject of him hitting her and my head gets even more screwed. I guess that'll always be a subject I can't really get my head around.

No comments: