True Life – I Have Social Anxiety follows around two young people, a woman named Nonie and a man named Scott, that suffer from social anxiety in order to understand how people live with this condition. Their severe social anxiety has affected them both to the point where they are unable to live normal lives due to the constant fear of being around and talking to strangers.
Both of these individuals follow different narrative paths throughout the episode. Nonie uses more of a chaos narrative when she shares her story because of how severe her condition is and how unwilling she is to seek proper treatment in order to get better. Since she was a teenager, Nonie has done everything in her power in order to ensure that she doesn’t have to make contact with anyone, except for a select few friends, outside of her home. When she does come in contact with strangers, she begins to feel sick and starts shaking uncontrollably just from the thoughts of what the people around her might be thinking about her. It was this severe anxiety that lead Nonie to not seeking help from a therapist because she was too afraid to speak to a stranger, and instead tried medicine that was supposed to her control her anxiety.
Scott, on the other hand, used more of a restitution narrative when telling his story about his social anxiety. Scott realizes that his greatest amounts of anxiety come from talking to women, especially those he finds attractive. Being aware of this factor, Scott continuously seeks help on how he can rid himself of his social anxiety by seeing a therapist, getting advice from his friends, and putting himself in situations that would normally give him anxiety in order to become more comfortable in those situations, such as speaking to women at bars. In the end, it seems like Scott has made much better progress at overcoming his social anxiety than Nonie has simply because he was more willing to seek and receive help.
What was very difficult for both of these individuals was the stigma that was associated with having social anxiety. Neither individual’s friends nor family members fully understood what exactly it was that these two were going through so they were constantly pushed to do things and make decisions about situations they were not comfortable with. In Nonie’s case, her mother appeared to push her to do things that would trigger her social anxiety frequently and become displeased if Nonie did not do what she was asked, such as seeking help from a therapist.
The use of narratives is very important when it comes to how a person wants to properly express their story or situation. They’re also beneficial in the sense that they allow a patient to understand their own sickness or illness. For example, in the blog “Fibromyalgia+ The Type “A” Personality= Chaos, Frustration and Near Insanity!” the author discusses her personal struggles and feelings towards fibromyalgia. In expressing her thoughts and feeling about having this condition on her blog, she has helped improve how a person, family member, or healthcare provider is able to recognize and diagnose fibromyalgia.
Caito, Edwina. “Fibromyalgia+ The Type “A” Personality= Chaos, Frustration and Near Insanity!” BlogHer Editors. Accessed July 25, 2014. http://www.blogher.com/fibromyalgia-type-personality-chaos-frustration-and-near-insanity?page=full
Karim, Taz. “Lecture 4.2 Narrative Illnesses”. Video, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Accessed July 25, 2014.