I Have Social Anxiety

I have chosen to watch “True Life: I Have Social Anxiety,” which follows two young people suffering with crippling social anxiety, Noni and Scott.  Their social anxiety has affected them so much that they are unable to live normal lives.

Noni is 21 years old and still lives with her parents.  She finds it hard to find and keep a job and has only one friend.  Whenever she goes out in public, she feels that everyone is judging her.  This has been going on her whole life.  Noni tells her story has a chaos narrative.  She is negative about it and feels her condition is only getting worse and that it will continue to get worse.

Scott is a 26 year old virgin who is also still living with his parents.  He is barely able to leave his house and his whole life seems to revolve around the pursuit of talking to girls.  He is determined to talk to girls and meet a girl.  He is more positive about his condition and is determined to get better. He tells his story as a quest narrative.  His illness is an opportunity to improve himself and it’s a journey.

Our culture places a very big stigma on mental illness.  It is especially hard for people with mental illnesses, especially anxiety, to convey their feelings.  In western medicine, if it doesn’t have a quick biomedical explanation, it is not easily understood.

Noni is less patient with medical professionals than Scott is.  She is very anxious about talking to a therapist so she would rather resort to a quick fix, like medication.  Scott is very determined to get treatment at any means possible.  He tries a wide range of treatments to beat his anxiety, such as meditation and therapy.

The sick role is shown in this episode well. They have acknowledged that feeling anxiety and not being able to talk to people is not normal.  They have sought medical professionals.  They have also been excused from regular rights and responsibilities.  Most normal people would be leaving on their own, but these individuals are not yet.

Illness narratives are very useful to everyone involved in the individual’s life, not just the individual suffering from the illness.  It can help the individual understand his/her own illness and it can also help others understand the illness.  I feel that after watching this video, I understand anxiety much more and I can relate to someone with anxiety much better.  It can also help a doctor take a patient more seriously if a patient can convey their illness better.

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.


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Shardae Herriford says:

    Social anxiety is more common then people believe. It has various degrees of this disorder. Such as, they won’t leave the house at all even for important things such as daily supplies for their home. I watched a video about a young man named Ned Storem who has social anxiety. He explained that he had friends in middle school that he used to hang with all the time. However, when he went to high school it was harder making friends because he didn’t like going to parties or social events to meet new people. When he was around a crowd of people he becomes overwhelmed. What confuses him about his disorder is that he loves talking and engaging with people, but he has to know you well first. He explained that when he beg and to have a panic attack he begins to sweat, turn red, and his heart vegans to race. He believes that when he is around a lot of people that they are talking negatively about him. He realized in college that he was being alone a lot of the time and that it was hard making new friends this made him depressed.

    Ned is similar to Scott with a quest narrative because he sought out help by seeing a psychologist. He tried using positive thinking when talking to a therapist but it didn’t help. So, as he continues to receive help he blogs on YouTube about his progression. Also, he has been given several medicines that he has take and the current medicine he is taking which is Paxil. What influenced both of their experience is mostly of people that they don’t know. Our society influences us to see our flaws greater than what they are, which causes people to feel not good enough. This is mentally affecting them to have physical panic attacks.

    Source: “Social Anxiety Disorder: My Story & Paxil” YouTube video, 1:55. Posted June 21,2014. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jZa3w-MFloY Viewed on July 25,3014

  2. Valencia Smith says:

    Social anxiety is a very common condition amongst people and can really have an effect on their social life and physical and mental stability. I found a great narrative about Vinny, one of MTV’s reality stars from Jersey Shore, and his issue with social anxiety. His situation was similar to Noni’s and Scott’s because of the fact that he knew he had a problem that needed to be fixed, and sought help with his social anxiety issues. In the video clip, Vinny talks about his past experiences with social anxiety and how it affected his life on and off camera. He talks about his first panic attack, which happened as a result of social anxiety and how he dealt with it. People who experience social anxiety often times never feel like themselves and feel disconnected. Vinny touches on this subject as well and shares more of his experiences. I feel like this narrative is leaning more towards a quest one just because of the fact that Vinny is positive about his problem and is working steadily towards overcoming it. The influences of his personal anxiety were enhanced by being on television and being known. He talks about how partying and drinking helped him cope to a certain extent with his illness, but how it also affected him negatively.

    “HLN Dr. Drew” YouTube video, 4:55. Posted Dec. 3, 2012.

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