The True Life episode I watched dealt with two individuals who suffered from social anxiety albeit in different ways. Nonie cannot leave her house without fearing social interactions. She tends to leave in the evening so that it is harder for people to actually see her. She doesn’t have that many friends – the show only showed her interacting with one. We see her waiting from the restaurant parking lot, in one instance, waiting for others to go into the restaurant so she could avoid interacting with them. Additionally, she refuses to see a therapist because she does not want to talk to someone, which is why she opts for medicating herself. Scott’s social anxiety surfaces primarily when he is talking to women. He was bullied when he was younger by a large group of people (he said around 10) and has experienced social anxiety since then.
The type of narratives this True Life episode utilizes is the chaos and quest narrative. For Nonie, it is the chaos narrative as her presence on the show focuses on her discussing and depicting how her social anxiety manifests itself. It essentially shows her suffering. For Scott, it is the quest narrative. He discusses how he suffers from social anxiety but he also takes measures to improve his condition. He meets with a therapist as well as tries to face his issue head-on. As his primary issue is that he has difficulty talking to women, he now forces himself to go and talk to women. His job initially was a marketing consultant which enabled him to work at home but as we saw his story progress on the show, we see that he starts working full-time in social media at an office.
As social interaction is a very integral part of our culture (though there are spaces where one can avoid it, I doubt that it is possible currently to avoid social interaction entirely), Nonie and Scott face a lot of difficulty trying to fit into that while having their social anxiety. Also, as relationships and love is something that one is expected to strive for in our culture, Scott not having had a girlfriend or having had sex at 26 years of age probably gives him some degree of stress which affects his social anxiety.
Wrt the sick role, while both Scott and Nonie have tried to seek treatment and get better with their social anxiety, only Scott has been showing improvements. Nonie tried medication but after it made her feel like a zombie, she dropped it. She has also not seen a therapist. Scott, on the other hand, has seen a therapist and is actively trying to better his situation.
Illness narratives are quite beneficial not only for the healthcare providers but also for the patients and their families. I feel that they provide patients with more agency over their illness as control is something that is generally lacking when it comes to being sick. It also helps others understand what the patient is undergoing which has the possibility to result in better treatment (as since the doctors have a better understanding, they might have a better/effective treatment plan). “Fibromyalgia+ The Type “A” Personality = Chaos, Frustration and Near Insanity,” a blog post by Edie (or toydiva65), focuses on Edie’s issues with having fibromyalgia and having a type A personality. She explains how she realized she might have fibromyalgia and also goes into detail some of the effects of the syndrome. This blog post provides people with an idea of what she is undergoing. Additionally in the post she explains why she doesn’t partake in some activities, which could help her friends and family understand as well.
Toydiva65. “Fibromyalgia+ The Type “A” Personality= Chaos, Frustration and Near Insanity!” BlogHer. BlogHer, 16 Mar. 2010. Web. July 201
“True Life | I Have Social Anxiety | MTV.” MTV. MTV, 2 May 2013. Web. July 2014.