I have Social Anxiety

True Life: I have Social Anxiety follows two young individuals that experience extreme distress when having to interact with people or even leaving their homes. Nonie, a 21-year-old female, had a hard time picking up and waiting for a pizza. She seemed very uncomfortable sitting as she was shaking and explained that she felt like she was being choked. Scott, a 26-year-old marketing professional, lives with his parents and works from home giving him the perfect environment to stay in and avoid people.

I had a hard time classifying this type of narrative but I chose chaos. I know it isn’t a chronic condition that progresses to death but the other factors of chaos narrative I think fit social anxiety. Nonie and Scott are definitely suffering socially and do not feel that other people have an understanding of what they are going through. They are both also frustrated as to why it is happening and why they can’t live a happy normal life. They both explained their condition as crippling and misunderstood. For example Nonie’s mom wants her to go to therapy and get help while Nonie would rather just take medicine and see if she can avoid therapy. Although it would be better for Nonie to go to therapy it makes her extremely uncomfortable to think about talking to a stranger about her problems and she feels that her mom doesn’t understand what she would have to overcome just to make an appointment with the therapist.

Scott is taking more of an aggressive approach to his social anxiety through therapy and anxiety calming treatments. As seen in his therapy session, they try to get down to the root of where this anxiety is coming from. The therapist also tells him to just get out of the house and socialize. This maybe suggests that the therapist thinks of social anxiety as less of an illness and more of a state. Nonie doesn’t have much contact with medical professionals; she resorts to trying medications to avoid interaction.

As far as the sick role goes, both Nonie and Scott have accepted that they something abnormal occurring and have decided to take different paths to ease the illness. One thing that did bother me about Nonie in particular was that she wouldn’t try. Scott would get himself out there with his friends and Nonie seemed to pity herself more. After watching the youtube clip about 11 year old Anna who is so optimistic about her life, it made me realize that maybe Nonie could cure her social anxiety if she was a little more optimistic about things. Anna still did her chores and responsibilities, as seen in my favorite part of the clip, when she says that diabetes doesn’t get children out of chores. Nonie expressed her social anxiety as completely horrible and that she can’t keep a job or friends because of it.

All of these different examples really show how useful and what a difference in illness narratives there are. On one hand we have Nonie who is not seeking any help besides medications, which she eventually states to be working but who also seems to be very distressed in life when describing her symptoms and feelings. Then Scott who is actively helping himself and seems to have a more optimistic outlook on his social anxiety, similarly to Anna’s view of her diabetes.

A Day Living With Diabetes. Film. Directed by Christi Mclean. : christimclean1313, 2010.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Desirae Jemison says:

    Hi Anya. I actually was going to do my post this week on social anxiety originally. I find the medical condition social anxiety to be very interesting. I found a YouTube video title “How Social Anxiety Makes Me Act and Feel” that reflects on the same medical condition as discussed in the true life episode you chose. This video was about a man that talked about how social anxiety brings about fear when he’s in public places. He also talks about how he feel people think of him, he thinks people think of him as being retarded because of the way speaks(stutters) and look. He has been suffering from social anxiety for over thirty years. I think this guy uses a chaos narrative as well I think the difference between the individuals on the True Life episode and the guy from the you tube video would be the ways the illness affects each of them individually. The guy in the Youtube video is afraid what others think of him, although he do leave his home. He is afraid that people will laugh and stare at him because of the way he looks; which is what causes his social anxiety. On the other hand as stated in your post Nonie was optimistic and decided to pity herself more, while Scott decided he wouldn’t let his social anxiety get the best of him, he was optimistic.

    “Youtube”, last modified May 27, 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHGJAAxeHgg

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