From Germany: I am 21 years old and currently in my third year of studies. Last semester, I was having a hard time dealing with stress and loneliness and my own behavior started to scare me. Whenever I was alone –which was the case very often- I would keep talking to myself or singing. When I forced myself to stop, it just went on in my head and got really tiring. So I decided to go to the psychological consultation offered at my university. The first appointment was very helpful because I really needed someone to tell me whether I was going crazy. The psychologist told me it was my choice whether I wanted to come again or not, and we set an appointment for a month later. Back then, I thought it was a good idea to give myself the feeling that I was seeking help and also to feel a bit encouraged/“pressured” to follow his advice before the next time. Since I was no longer in that hysterical state, the second session felt a bit unnecessary. I don’t like it when I keep complaining to others (although very often I feel that I need to do so) and of course I admitted that I was feeling a lot better. Nonetheless, I agreed to have a third session another 2 months later, so that I wouldn’t be “all on my own” from then on. However, the thought keeps bothering me that I am just seeking attention. In fact, it makes me feel super-attention-seeking, just writing that. I used to be a good student at school, and now this kind of recognition is missing at the university. I keep involving myself in voluntary work, but the only reason it makes me happy is that it gives me acknowledgement from others. When I go to a doctor (which I rarely do) now I somehow enjoy being the center of attention. And that really bothers me.
I hate to see myself become this girl who is craving attention, yet trying to seem so shy and modest. That is not who I thought I was, but apparently this side of me was hidden somewhere all along.
Learning to ask for help is a virtue and a sign of strength — not weakness. Wanting to be recognized by others for your effort is as central to being human as it gets. The great American psychologist and philosopher, Williams James, said it best:“The deepest hunger in humans is the desire to be appreciated.”
You’ve done the right thing by talking about this to a professional at your university and I strongly recommend you keep doing the volunteer work as you maintain the counseling sessions.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). Am I Becoming an Attention Seeker?. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 21, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/06/23/am-i-becoming-an-attention-seeker/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 23 Jun 2016) Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.