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Want to Be Sick for Attention

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Let me begin with the symptoms I have had all my life. Ever since I was little, I have been anxious in large crowds, especially in crowds full of strangers, so much so that I spend a lot of my free time, not at work or school, at home. Time outside in situations with people, I find myself struggling to find a topic of conversation, or continuing on with a subject. I find myself saying things at the wrong time, or reacting oddly to other people’s reactions. At times, I seem to incorrectly read people’s emotions, whether spoken or not, and I tend to get angry and frustrated when there is no need to be. Because of this, I am conflicted, because when I am at home, I wish to be out with people doing something, but when I am around my friends and family, though I do enjoy it for some time, I end up wishing I were back at home.

This is the intro to my current problem. Normally, I find myself not wanting to be in the middle of attention, because that would just cause me to be anxious and almost rather be dead than in that moment. However, recently, I have been wanting some sort of emotional attention. What I mean by that is, I don’t want people complimenting me and praising all my good works, because, honestly, whenever someone says something positive about me, it’s total BS and they’re just trying to make me feel better about myself. Instead, I want something more emotional and physical. I’m not really into that sexual type stuff, so lately, I’ve been really wanting some sort of serious illness to hit, especially me but also to my family.

I want this illness, whatever one comes my way, to occur at the worst possible time, so I have an excuse to cry in front of people, and for people to give me support. I want an illness to give me a reason to spill out all my emotions out to someone without worrying about them judging me, or turning away from me because I didn’t say something right. I just want to be comforted, because I have all these emotions bottled up in me so that I don’t even know what I feel sometimes. What do I do?


Want to Be Sick for Attention

Answered by on -


You imagine that an illness would get those around you to show concern and caring. Your underlying motivation may be that you want to be loved and to know that people care about you. Those are normal human emotions and desires. It also suggests that you may not be getting those needs met by your caregivers.

You seem to see illness as the only way to meet your needs, but it would only lead to unneeded suffering. If an ailment were to befall you or your family, you would realize how valuable ones’ health is. You don’t want to learn its value by becoming the victim of a serious illness.

I would suggest counseling. It could help you with your anxiety, and depression Treatment could help you immensely. In the meantime, try journaling or writing to help you expose your feelings. Then bring those writings to the therapist who could assist you in explore why you feel the way you do. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randlle

Want to Be Sick for Attention

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Want to Be Sick for Attention. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 4, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 16 Sep 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.