The other day, I read a newspaper article about "social anxiety
disorder." It seems millions of people suffer from this "malady" and have been crippled socially
because of it.
They are reclusive, never venture out in public, which has precluded them from making friends, forming romantic
connections, getting an education, or maintaining a job. Some say when dealing with others socially, they get sweaty
palms, and become jittery.
There is a TV commercial promoting a pill for this "disorder." And scads of magazine ads for competing
For depression, we have seen many people extol the virtues of St John's Wort, and natural Asian health-boosters
that beat stress.
I think people need to learn to take responsibility for their happiness and stop trying to put a smile on their
faces and becoming popular via a tablet and tranquilizing teas.
Smokey the Bear said, "only you can prevent forest fires." I say, "only you can make yourself happy."
During the Ford and later Carter administrations, I was a college student, and enormously shy. I avoided social
situations. I felt awkward walking pass a cluster of students. I hated speaking out in class. LOATHED giving speeches.
When I did so, my mouth needed irrigating; my lips would become pasted together; my voice would take on a high,
cartoonish sound. I wouldn't make eye contact with my spectators. I felt like they were giggling at me. But I was
expected to give a presentation, so I did it.
I didn't drop out of school, or dash to the nearest physician or health food store seeking a remedy for a problem
I could solve. Well, they didn't have such offerings back then. I doubt if I would have resorted to them, anyway.
I have misgivings about "social anxiety disorder."
If one is shy, unassuming, I say get out there and mingle; join in conversations, create icebreakers for chitchats.
Some people are using "social anxiety disorder," as an excuse to be a slacker.
I know a young man who claims to have a bipolar disorder, for which he takes prescription medication. He doesn't
punch a time card; he receives a social security check and Medicaid.
He watches the boob tube all day because he is so depressed he just can't function. Yet he enjoys bingo and visits
a hall twice a week, and goes to Dover Downs to gamble. If he is so enervated, how does he manage to summon the
energy to partake in activities that bring him joy?
I think people are using depression and anxiety disorders to keep from assuming important and difficult responsibilities--getting
an education and maintaining employment.
Don't get me wrong. I know there are people dealing with depression. I have had bouts of it, and I know others
as well struggling with it, but we worked, paid our bills, attended classes. Some days were/are better than others.
But there are the abusers, the whiners, who claim they can't function, can't cope.
And the psychiatric community is abetting their mere shyness and shiftlessness by giving important sounding names
to it-- such as "social anxiety disorder," which when turned into an acronym could be called sad.
And what is really sad are the claims people will make to avoid taking responsibility for themselves, and a medical
community that is supporting it.