15 millions Americans suffer from social anxiety, which is a feeling of overwhelming paranoia and distress when engaging in typical, every day social interactions that normally wouldn’t be a problem. I believe this is a medical condition because anxiety definitely is, and anything can cause it, even if it is believed to be irrational. I believe the type of narrative that the individuals suffering from social anxiety in this episode is a chaos narrative, because it is a chronic and definitely degenerative condition. It effects their daily lives very severely, to the point where they can’t function normally in social settings. As Scott states, he “just wants to stay in his room all day, and that’s it.” Although a chaos narrative typically helps people feel less isolated, feeling isolated is the main problem these people have. I believe there is definitely a stigma towards people with social anxiety in our culture. As I’ve stated in previous posts, American culture tends to focus very little on understanding people who are different from us, which makes it very hard for people with social anxiety to feel comfortable around others. As Nonie discusses in the episode, she first went to the doctor when she was in high school, and he believed she had depression, prescribed her prozac, and that didn’t work. “The Sick Role” may have been used by her when she dropped out of college because she was too nervous to go to class.
As stated in the lecture from this week, narratives can be very useful. Discussing an illness you have can help you make sense of your suffering, adjust to new disabilities, and feel empowered. Not only does it help the person who has the illness and is telling the narrative, but it can also help those who are listening who may have the same illness. By discussing your illness with someone, you can help them feel less isolated, encourage them to share their own suffering, and can look to you as a model on how to live with the illness.
Karim, Taz. “Week 4: Experiential Approach.” ANP 204 Introduction to Medical Anthropology Summer 2014 Week 4 Experiential Approach Comments. http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp204-us14/schedule/week-4/ (accessed July 26, 2014).
“True Life | I Have Social Anxiety | MTV.” MTV. http://www.mtv.com/shows/truelife/true-life-i-have-social-anxiety/1706675/playlist/#id=1706675 (accessed July 26, 2014).