By Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti LICSW, MSW
I’m writing a book, tentatively titled “From Misfit to Ms Wit” about social anxiety disorder because in my work with people with PTSD, depression and ADHD I’ve noticed that social anxiety disorder is like a backpack condition: it often comes along with other mental health conditions and it slows healing down.
Why? Because without a tribe of people to check out our experiences and perceptions with, we are left trying to figure everything out on our own, or trying to solve issues with the limited perspective of immediate family members, so the effect of social anxiety disorder is greater than mere loneliness: it decreases functioning.
Additionally, because we humans experience ourselves relationally (meaning we form our identities based upon the qualities we are told we contain) limited social connections amputate a major venue for self awareness.
I belong to no less than three consult groups and on top of that have weekly lunch dates with various therapist friends. I tell folks that I do this so that I can appear more intelligent than I really am, but it really does make me better at what I do. Hearing what trainings my friends are attending, the outcomes of research they are reading and creative interventions they have successfully used allows me to expand my knowledge and abilities.
My goal is to try to post excerpts of the book on this blog every two weeks as a way to help me stay productive because it’s amazing how appealing doing laundry is when I have time I could spend writing.
Any comments, questions, disagreements etc… are welcome!