Posts Tagged ‘stigma’

Pain? No, it’s just a joke.

There’s a lot to hate about being me. But ignore that for the moment. Let me focus on my big problem – this wretched social anxiety thing.

I’ve said before that I hate the term social anxiety. I hate more than the term. I hate the problem. I hate how people look at it. I hate how it’s a joke.

Any kind of psychological or psychiatric illness suffers from a huge stigma. If you’ve got something in that family, it’s because you’re weak, or foolish, or stupid.

Social anxiety suffers from that in spades.

People hear “social anxiety”, and… they see it, at best, as a manufactured illness. It’s just shyness. It’s not a real illness. It was invented by drug companies to sell happy pills!

No matter where you turn, if you hear a mention of social anxiety, it’s always either a joke, or a rant about how pathetic people are nowadays ¬†–¬†they can’t even cope with being shy without needing to see a doctor!

Even among geeks… there are a lot of people with social anxiety among geeks. But no one will actually admit it. I’m hiding behind a pseudonym here! But even in this community where so many of us suffer from it… Look at artists who come from the community. Take Jonathan Coulton. He’s got a song about pill popping, and yup, social anxiety is one of the punchlines.

I’m struggling to try to overcome this illness. And it’s so damned hard, and it hurts so damned much. And to nearly everyone else, to nearly everyone who hasn’t been in a miserable pit of despair like this, to people who’ve never been trapped in this cage, it’s just a joke.