This episode featured a young woman by the name of Nonie and a young man by the name of Scott, both who suffer(ed) from social anxiety disorders. Their disorder inhibited them from leading interactive lives with society as they felt extremely uncomfortable in any situation which involved discussion, eye contact, or the mere fact that someone was looking at them. Scott seemed to have problems more with attractive women than all of society, while Nonie felt anxiety along all sexes, races, religions, etc…
Scott’s experience with anxiety and his inability to talk to women, stemmed from childhood bullying when he was in middle school. He resorted to his comfort zone, which included his home, his family, and limited male friends. His story is more of a restitution narrative, as he discusses how he was a “normal” child growing up before the school issues, and how he strives to be better in the future and overcome is social issues. However, he is a 26 year old man who has never had a girlfriend, is a virgin, and is afraid of living at home forever. Society does not really allow for his introverted behavior without looking like he has a problem. Culturally, a man approaches a woman at the bar, and a conversation arises. Even if the woman approaches the man, the man has to communicate. The comfort zone issues really put a hold up on creating a social network, and even holding a job outside of the house where woman may work.
Nonie on the other hand experiences her problem a bit differently and a bit drastically. Although she says she wants to get better, she doesn’t seem to try as hard, or try to go out of her comfort zone quite as much, as Scott does. Her narrative would be classified as restitution as well, however, parts of her story at times seems a bit quest in nature. She does not necessarily talk about getting worse, or having more problems, however, with time, her steady lack of interaction with society will land her in a position where she can not live on her own and her family will not be around to support her. The problem will become worse if she can not get a handle on them sooner than later.
Both Scott and Nonie live at home. Their illness allows them to have less bills, work less, save money, or in Nonie’s situation, not work at all. They do not have to go through many social struggles that many people have. Relationship ups and down, financial stress, etc. However, they are also missing out on all of the same things, the benefits of a relationship, living on their own, having their own space, and being their own person. The reliance on another person is something that both have really grasped onto and taken for granted. Would they be in the position that they are in if they didn’t have a choice? What if their families were not there to support them both emotionally and financially? Would they be forced at a younger age to deal with their anxiety? Or would they be homeless, in a shelter, or living with a friend?
Although Scott made strides and real progress, it seemed as if Nonie did not. Her problems really resurfaced and she went off of her medication. Even when she was on her medication she had a semi negative outlook, she felt like a zombie, and would rather be cooped up at home than feel like a zombie among society. Both of their mothers strive to get them professional therapeutic help in order to help them function better within society. The mothers, it seemed, could not really grasp what their child was going through, although tried to do what they thought would be most beneficial for them.
Illness narratives in general can really help a person to discuss their issues with other people. Many times, especially when a problem lives primarily in a person’s mental state, it can be difficult for someone to relate and understand what the other person is feeling or experiencing. Like the women in the article by Anne Werner, group therapies can be helpful to discuss issues among peers with similar experiences and feelings. Being understood is highly important in relationships with other people. Everyone strives to be understood and relevant. The blog about the young man suffering from bipolar disorder also is a great example of the impact that his quest narrative can bring. Not only is he fighting daily to deal with his disorder, his acceptance, and social position, but he is impacting others by creating the blog, by being a shoulder for others with similar mental and social problems. He is creating a community and possible friendships and support for people, simply by originally trying to cope. He understands his illness and is trying to make a better life because of it for himself and others. Scott, from the social anxiety video, really seemed to gain from creating the narrative and talking with others, while Nonie is still struggling.