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).