The episode of True Life that I chose to watch is titled, “I Have Social Anxiety.” The episode follows two individuals who suffer from social anxiety, an illness that leads one to feel fear during social interactions and can result in various responses like panic attacks or isolating oneself from society. Throughout the episode, Nonie struggles with being in public places and interacting other people. She is having a hard time even calling a therapist on the phone to make an appointment to help get treatment for her condition. After eventually seeking prescription medication from her doctor, Nonie began to feel different and see a slight change in her behavior. The narrative used is this episode would be a quest narrative. The transition of the episode seems to suggest ideas of a difficult journey, and the transforming experience displayed by the individuals suffering from the illness. Nonie states at the end of the episode that the medication she finally acquired seems to be slightly helping her with her condition, and that her improvement gives her hope that she will be able to cope with her social anxiety more so in the future. The culture surrounding this episode suggests the use of biomedicine and alternative treatment options. One individual sought out a specialist and prescription medication, while the other sought out personal therapy and meditation sessions. The sick role is predominantly displayed in this episode. Both cases were aware of their abnormal tendencies and behaviors, both sought out treatment options from a professional and both excused themselves from regular responsibilities in life like going to school, getting a job, living on your own, meeting and interacting with other people, etc. Illness narratives are useful in many different ways, depending on the individual. Illness narratives can help individuals understand their unique condition and the way they perceive or make sense of it in order to adjust and make changes. In terms of loved ones, illness narratives can help them to get a sense of what the patient is going through to better relate and help get them the treatment they ultimately need. Like friends and family, healthcare providers can benefit from illness narratives to more effectively treat their patients for their unique experience and get them on the road to better health.
MTV. True Life: I Have Social Anxiety. Online. Viacom International Inc., 2013.
Karim, Taz. “Lecture 4.2 Medical Anthropology: Illness Narratives.” ANP 204 Week 4 Lecture Material, Michigan State University East Lansing, MI, July 25, 2014.