冬 - I'll eat some breakfast, then change the world (eternalism) wrote,
冬 - I'll eat some breakfast, then change the world

He says what I think.

Is Social Anxiety a Disorder?

I'm not going to dissect the whole article. If you're interested, I suggest you read it for yourself. robertsloan2 makes some excellent points about social pressure and the stresses of conformity that I completely agree with.

But for my own reference, I'm going to repost a few paragraphs here that strike a particular chord with me.

And stress related diseases are epidemic. This kind of aggravation gets treated as background -- as normal. People are supposed to just put up with it and then think it's somehow something wrong with them that they don't have a thick enough skin about criticism -- yet who can enjoy life when they're constantly under social attack?

I can't count the number of times when I get so stressed out about work and want an out and then think that I must be weak or whiny or lazy because other people can get through it just fine. What makes me so different that I can't handle it when other people handle twice as much for twice as long without complaint or issue? I've had unending arguments with myself over how weak I must be for not being able to handle it. I'm not even 25. What gives me the right to want stress leave when some people have worked for as long as I've been alive and have taken maybe 10 sick days the entire time?

And so on and so forth. I feel terrible for being so stressed over what I'm just expected to have to pu up with because everyone else does, and I hate it all sometimes.

Schools do a lot to create that conformity. The bullying system in schools establishes that group defense against bullies and the number of kids that live in constant terror of physical or emotional attack is -- the majority. Most adults too if they stop to recall what it was really like will remember times they couldn't eat or sleep because they were continually stalked or picked on by sadistic kids.

My experience with school bullying is that when the bullying is reported, the teacher decides to help you take matters into your own hands and to let make you stand up and address the perpetrators in front of the whole class, telling everyone what they did wrong and how they hurt you. The idea, I guess, is to promote empowerment, helping us help ourselves. All it did to make was make me afraid to speak up most of the time because I hated having people's eyes on me while I told everyone how humiliated or hurt I'd been. I'm being extra humuliated by having to stand up and humiliate someone else for humiliating me. I hated it. And I don't really think that it helped at all, to be truthful. It may help some people. But I think the people that approach would help the most are the people who aren't likely to be constantly picked on.

One really competent employee will recognize that he or she could do a lot more elsewhere and get paid better for it on top of that, or that the money isn't worth it, tells off the bully and walks out.

My freaking dream! If I could convince my workplace that they can get better use out of me if they stop making me take calls and instead let me focus on getting the database work done, I could be twice as useful and wouldn't have to worry about constantly being scored on things I'm crap on or fretting about losing my job. If they could learn to make better use of my strengths and to avoid my weaknesses that bring the company down, I think we'd all be happier for it.

Some people treat therapy or medication as punitive -- and disconfirm the person's feelings and troubles by suggesting they need medication or therapy or both, because what they want is the therapist to make that person conform to their group's expectations.

Reminds me somewhat of the therapist who dismissed my gender issues and when I pressed the issue with her, telling her that I in no way felt female and greatly disliked the parts of me that made me female, her reaction was to suggest I go hang out with the gay/lesbian community. Because gender issues automatically mean sexual issues, and I'm certain her goal in that suggestion was to get me comfortable with being the lesian she assumed I was, I'd stop hating my female self so much. Never mind that I wasn't a lesbian, and my sexuality had nothing to do with my gender issues. I didn't fit her mold.

It didn't help that I couldn't explain my thoughts and feelings very well, but she didn't seem that interested in pursuing the issue when I very subiously agreed to take her advice under advisement. Of course, she wasn't a very good therapist, and we now refer to her as the Crazy Frog Woman.

(Not 'Frog' because she was French and we're being derogatory that way. Griffin had a dream where someone called her the crazy fraud lady, and when recounting this dream to me, I misheard her.)

In a healthy culture, about 5% of the people don't really fit and would be happier in a different way of life. In this country, 25% of the people wind up with clinical depression and that is way too high a statistic.

I just mentioned that to Griffin and among other things, she commented that it doesn't help that we're constantly being told that we're not good enough. That's enough to make anyone feel like crap. Look at advertising. Advertising tells us that in order to be worth something, to be someone that people pay attention to, we have to be young, attractive, rich, and surrounded by friends. Therein lay one of my big problems for a while. I felt like I was going nowhere because I was approaching the end of my so-called youth, and my life hadn't taken off the way it does to people on TV or in movies. I'd experienced no great loves, I didn't have direction in life, I barely had any friends who understood me, and I sure as hell wasn't thin and attractive. And since modern culture barely has any focus on that stuff happening to people who are older than their mid 20s (unless you're talking about badly-acted soap operas where everyone's having affairs with everyone else), it felt to me like after a certain age, one which was fast approaching, my life would be over. What would be left but the same old humdrum crap that would bore me for the rest of my life, until I finally died and it was over.

I don't feel that way now. I'm in my mid 20s and I feel like my life is actually just beginning sometimes. The formative years filled with turmoil and crap are behind me, I have talents and skill that I've acquired that are helping to shape my world, and I've got plenty of time left in my life to keep growing and learning and doing what I love. It's a complete switch from what I spent so many years wasting energy over worrying about.

...some of the traumas are so common they get disconfirmed and treated as if they should not have any consequences, like childhood bullying and first adolescent love/heartbreak.

Reminds me of a line I read once in Mercedes Lackey's Brightly Burning. "First love is no less real than mature love, and first heartbreak hurts the worst."
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