This episode of True Life is about two young adults who suffer from social anxiety. Noni is 21 years old, and she almost never leaves her house. She is terrified to even make eye contact with anyone other than her family and few close friends. Her illness is very impeding on her life- she can’t even go out to eat at a restaurant without having a panic attack. Just the thought of being put in a social situation gives her anxiety. I would describe her story as a chaos illness narrative, because Noni thinks of her illness as a permanent state, a sickness that will only continue to get worse.
Scott, on the other hand, is a 26 year old virgin, still living with his parents and barely able to leave the house because of his fear to talk to girls. He seeks help, desperate to one day have a relationship with a girl. He knows he has an anxiety problem, and he is determined to fix it. His story his a quest narrative, because he is willing to use any opportunity he has to improve himself, looking at it as a journey to get better.
Our culture has placed a huge stigma on anxiety disorders. Living with anxiety would be very hard to overcome. Dealing with social anxiety in our society would be especially difficult, because in order to be successful in our culture, you usually need to be able to efficiently communicate and talk to others, both professionally and casually. It is hard for people who do not suffer from the disorder to understand why socializing are so difficult for those who do have the condition.
Noni’s experience with medical professionals seemed to be less successful than Scott’s experience. Noni wanted to see immediate results and is less realistic about her illness. She would rather resort to depending on medication than talking to a therapist to help her fix her problem for good. Scott, on the other hand, was willing to talk to someone and wanted to change his behavior for life.
Illness narratives can be an “individual endeavor” or it can involve group discussions, such as alcoholics anonymous. Both are very helpful to patients, teaching them how to cope with their problems. It helps both the patients and family members of those inflicted to resolve the issues that inevitably accompany the illness.
Karim, Taz. “Lecture 4.2 Illness Narratives.” ANP 204 Course Website. East Lansing, MI, July 25, 2014. http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp204-us14/week-4-lecture-2/
MTV. “True Life: I Have Social Anxiety”. MTV video, 38:52. May 1, 2013. Accessed July 25, 2014. http://www.mtv.com/shows/truelife/true-life-i-have-social-anxiety/1706675/playlist/#id=1706675