“I have social anxiety”

This episode of True Life showed the lives of two people who suffer from the mental illness labeled as “social anxiety.” Nonie suffers from complete social anxiety and she fears having any kind of social interaction with others. She will wait until the evening to go out so that it is more difficult for people to actually see her and she avoids any social confrontation possible. She even fears speaking to a professional therapist so instead she chooses to treat herself with medication. Then there’s Scott who suffers from social anxiety in a different way. Scott’s social anxiety arises when he speaks to women, and he said it began when he was younger and bullied by a group of kids.

Nonie’s story was told as a chaos narrative. She was looking for a quick fix to her problem using drugs so that she could avoid a more social fix. However, if things didn’t work out quickly or if she had to be more social, she would quit. This shows the chaotic struggle of someone suffering from social anxiety. However, Scott told his story more as a quest narrative where he searched for a solution to overcome his anxiety. He tried meditation, therapy, and simply throwing himself into unfamiliar social situations to try and overcome his illness.

Social interactions are a very important part of our culture and for active members in our society it is basically impossible to avoid. There are certain norms in our culture such as falling in love, getting married, and having children. But for someone with social anxiety and the fear of interacting with others, these cultural norms can be very hard to achieve. Social interaction is an integral part of developing and maintaining relationships, which is why Nonie and Scott need to overcome their illness to carry on normal everyday lives.

Both Scott and Nonie are sick and have tried seeking medical treatment in order to help overcome their illness, but only Scott has been showing improvement. Nonie feared speaking to a therapist so she opted to try medications, but after experiencing the effects she decided to quit. However, Scott on the other hand managed to make some improvements. He saw a therapist and actively worked to overcome his illness, and his hard work seemed to pay off as we saw improvements with his condition.

I think that illness narratives can be very helpful to patients, doctors, and families. They are helpful to patients because often times talking out loud to others and sharing our thoughts and feelings can help ease the burden and make us feel that someone else understands. Medical conditions take a huge toll on the patient and it helps to talk about it so we feel that we aren’t alone. It also helps doctors because they are able to get a better perspective of how the patient is dealing with the illness. They can see how the patient is feeling and responding to treatment so that they can make any adjustments necessary. And of course it benefits the family because they get a better idea of what the individual is going through so they can provide the support and love that the patient needs. This is exactly the case in the blog, “Fibromyalgia + Type A Personality,” where the author shares a detailed description of all her symptoms and her life dealing with the illness. Her blog was not only helpful for doctors and family to better understand her condition, but it also taught me a lot about her condition that I didn’t know, and opened my eyes to see what life is really like for those suffering from fibromyalgia.

“Fibromyalgia+ The Type “A” Personality= Chaos, Frustration and Near Insanity!.” BlogHer Editors. http://www.blogher.com/fibromyalgia-type-personality-chaos-frustration-and-near-insanity?page=full (accessed July 25, 2014).

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Paige Smith says:

    The illness narrative that I found was on the website Social Anxiety Institute Visit Social Anxiety Institute. The article, “What is it Like to Live with Social Anxiety,” describes the social anxiety disorder and discusses the various experiences of people with the disorder. The description of social anxiety seems to be in exact correlation of the symptoms Nonie and Scott experience. For instance, the article states that one of the common symptoms of social anxiety disorder include the fear of others’ disapproval and going out of one’s way to avoid contact with people. Since these symptoms can be very severe, it is not surprising that Nonie is so afraid of social interaction that she cannot speak with a therapist which could prove to be very beneficial to her healing. Living with this condition would be very debilitating since life depends on successful social interaction with others. Important things such as making a living for one’s self or getting an education depend on at least minimal interaction with others. Being unable to do this would be very debilitating and isolating for an individual because we all need human interaction. Scott’s condition seems to be influenced from a negative interaction with some of his peers but I am not sure what influences Nonie’s experience. I think that she would really improve from a therapy session to determine the source of her disability. People with social anxiety are often misunderstood in a culture where social interaction is highly valued. Therapy could prove to be a valuable tool to help those with this condition.

  2. Paige Smith says:

    Also, here is the citation:

    Thomas A. Richards, “What is it Like to Live with Social Anxiety?” Social Anxiety Institute. 2014. Accessed July 26, 2014.

  3. Taylor Cheney says:

    The illness narrative that I found to analyze was very interesting. I found an illness narrative on living with social anxiety. The video shows a young teenager with social anxiety disorder and she discusses how it effects her daily life. The definition in the post above really shows in the symptoms in the girl in the youtube video I watched. Watching her illness narrative opens my eyes and makes me realize how hard it must be living with this medical condition. So many things in life, especially in the United States’ culture today, are based on social interaction and being confident in yourself. Minimal interaction and speaking with others is expected in school, and almost all careers you could go into. Similar to the True Life episode, the case of social anxiety disorder that I analyzed talked about how they have difficulty making as well as maintaining relationships with others and that many people have difficulty understanding how they feel on a daily basis. Constant struggle with yourself and interacting with others makes it extremely difficult to go through life in today’s society, I would recommend that these individuals attend therapy or group sessions to help them live to cope with their disease and live their lives to the fullest given the condition.

    YouTube. “Living with Social Anxiety” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5Kvgdi9mDU. (Accessed July 26, 2014.)

Leave a Reply