What if social anxiety isn’t a disorder?

Great article: “The basic problem, as I see it, is that we structure our society in such a way that participating in non-essential social rituals is made to seem mandatory. That problem’s then compounded by the way participation is insisted upon: not by directly ordering people to attend, but by telling them they should want to attend because they’ll have fun, and what kind of person doesn’t want to have fun? In this way, people begin to be persuaded that, if they don’t enjoy social situations, they are in some way defective – that their inability to take pleasure in social situations doesn’t indicate that they prefer different pleasures, but that they have a “personal problem” that they need to “fix”.”

Aethelread the Unread

The BBC news website has a big article about social anxiety disorder, with specific reference to Christmas. It’s illustrated, of course, with one of those unintentionally hilarious photos that features editors love so much: a woman in a beige jacket and slightly unkempt hair, with one hand to her face, and an out-of-focus Christmas tree looming over her like a giant, sparkly triffid. The article itself is one of those generic ones that get cranked out at Christmas time. Alongside the ‘Weather Spells Xmas Chaos’ article, and the ‘Council Scrooges Ban Christmas’ article, this is the obligatory ‘Unhappy Xmas’ article. It is, despite this, perfectly ok.

It provides a brief description of social anxiety, some first-hand testimony from people affected, some limited discussion of treatment options, and links prominently to sources of further information and advice – I was especially pleased to see the link to the online…

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