Friday, July 11, 2008

Social Anxiety & "Lars & The Real Girl"

Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations.

The anxiety can occur in limited situations — such as a fear of speaking in front of others - writing on a blackboard in front of the class - eating in front of others, just to name a few. It can, however, be quite broad in its scope, leaving an individual so anxious around other people that they seek to be alone. Total avoidance.

Lars & The Real Girl explores aspects of Social Anxiety Disorder and other mental illness in a meaningful way. It is a beautiful, sensitive and smart movie about the origins of mental illness and how to work them through.

If you get the chance, check it out. And if you've seen it, let me know what you think.


Palmtreechick said...

That's so weird, I had never heard that movie until Tuesday when my T mentioned it to me because she says my relationship with my scale is the same as his with the girl. Weird. I'll have to check it out.

CrackerLilo said...

I have social anxiety disorder, and I really didn't relate to the movie at all. However, I did enjoy it, and wish for more sensitive and concerned people around me like some of the people around Lars. My social anxiety disorder actually began to lose its grip on me when I left my family behind in Florida. I love them, but it is like being an insect under a microscope! Plus in NYC, whatever you're doing, someone more interesting than you will be coming along right behind you!

What you said about writing on a blackboard, though...I hate doing it. I hate using the whiteboard in my company's meetings, and I have to occasionally, and I just gut through it and exhale a sigh of relief when I'm done. Sometimes I outright laugh at myself--it's like I'm acting like I'm doing something really brave, like climbing a mountain or something. But I think a lot of that owes to my being dyscalculiate (numeric-dyslexic) and dealing with the reactions of my oh-so-sensitive middle school classmates.

Not much of a movie review, huh? ;-)

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Oh Social Anxiety a mental disorder? I have social anxiety. Its really kept me from enjoying a life. I finally joined a group for people with social anxiety but it took me three months to get myself to a meeting. People don't believe me when I tell them I have it because I am friendly and warm and can talk to anyone and everyone. BUT the difference is being in a SOCIAL setting. I am fine at work or something function that has a purpose, but I will not go to parties, bridal showers, social gatherings, etc. Anything like that sends me into a severe panic attack so I finally accepted it and just stay home a lot.

I am looking forward to seeing the movie, it sounds good. I'll let you know what I think :)

Alison said...

I just missed this movie unfortunately, it sounded really interesting. Have to look for it on dvd.

The Lone Beader said...

I have a fear of beading in front of others!

OHN said...

I had to smile when I read the title as today I am expecting 175 people at my home for a grad party. I would like to spend the duration in my closet but since that won't be possible, I will be putting on my "I am so happy to see you" smile-lol. As a young woman it was so bad that I think I missed out on many opportunities, but on the other hand, I believe things worked out the way they were supposed to. I have even grown to the point where I can invite nice strangers to lunch ;)(thanks sooo much for the suggestions for my trip-I am so excited that there are no closets in my vision:)

~Deb said...

In some cases, can't that lead to agoraphobia? Speaking in front of people is the #1 social anxiety I heard. I remember when I had to do my very first presentation in front of my entire company in a huge conference room regarding the details of the budget and where we were, etc., etc., ---and everyone had to do this for each department. Anyway, when I knew I was the next person to go up and speak, I started shaking and my heart started racing so much, that I thought I was going to faint. I got through it, but lemme tell ya, I hit happy hour HARD that evening! ;)

I have to check this movie out!

Angel Chasse said...

Thanks for the reccomendation! I think we will see if the library or the movie rental place has this for tonight. Yesterday we went to the lake for a swimmingly great day, so a day of lounging with movies is probably in order :)

Hope it is cool and breezy for your weekend! Looks like we are getting a small break from the hothumidity of it all :)


Bee Repartee said...

I just today put that on my netflix queue. :) I'll let you know and thanks for a great recommendation.

Kahless said...

I'll keep an eye out for it.

Anonymous said...

I've been labeled with Social Anxiety Disorder, trichotillomania, and agoraphobia. Not fun at all.

When I go out on for a social occasion, which is rare since I avoid people as much as possible, I stare at the floor. Or start to pull out my hair as soon as I get home. (Or before I get home if I feel stressed enough.)

My therapist really wants to put me on meds, but I feel medication is just a cover-up and not a solution to anything.

I just need to learn how to cope properly. It's hard.

I'm going to have to check out this movie.

Lynn said...

I am really behind on movie-watching. I'll have to check it out.

Katt said...

There are lots of times I am very uncomfortable speaking in front of or to others. I dont like eating in front of other people to much, especialy with my dentures (I hate them!!!)
I would rather be alone in my apartment then out in a crowd. Is that a bad thing?

kath said...

Social Anxiety... yep, that me. Or so I have been told. Maybe I just think I am good company?

Anyway.. just stopping by to say hello. I have been a bad blogger lately. Too wrapped up with other things. I am thinking of my blog friends though!

hope all is well and happy with you~

Mary said...

Will have to wath for the movie. I hate speaking in front of people, about 9 years ago my friend's daughter was getting married, and wanted me to be te MC for the reception..I really didn't want to do it, but I did, and I was amazed as how well I did, I don't know if it gets easier as you goet older or what.

thanks for the comment on my blgo Deb, and I will try and remember that it was in the past not now. Exactly what my therapist tells me...thanks,Mary

Clare said...

I've not heard of this movie but I'll be sure to check it out when it comes out over here.
Thanks for the heads up Deb.

Deb said...

Dear Palmtree,
It is a beautiful movie about taking steps forward albeit in an unusual way.

Dear Crackerlilo,
I also have social anxiety - and it didn't relate at all to my experiences. Didn't you love how the community rallied around him!

Dear Barb
I totally understand as well. I am warm, friendly, etc, and can speak in large groups, but in small social setting I get very very shy. Definitley tell me what you think about the movie. Lars experiences a variety of things that were handled very well in the movie.

Dear Alison,
I think you will enjoy it very much. It also shows how psychotherapy can be very meaningful.

Dear Lone,

Dear OHN,
I can totally relate to your experiences!

Dear Deb,
Yes, agoraphobia and other things! Let me know what you think if you ever see it.

Dear Angel,
What a great way to cool off in the heat!

Dear Bee,
Come back and let me know :)

Dear Kahless,
I think you would like it.

Dear Branwynne,
Research has shown that Social Anxiety Disorder, as with many of the anxiety disorders, are significantly neurobiologically based. That means that there is a medical reason for your symptoms. It is not a result of being weak or lazy. It's a real thing. All the skills and training in the world may not offset your neurobiology. Just like how one may watch their sugar and carbs, eat healthy etc and still have diabetes. Anyway, just my 2 cents.

Dear Lynn,
Should you see it, come back and let me know what you think. I thought it was so well done and simply beautiful.

Dear Katt,
If you are happy and your tendency for being alone doesn't negatively impact your life, it is perfectly fine. Many people choose solitary things over busy social ones. But if you are longing to be connected or feel as if you are missing out etc, than you should take a deeper look.

If you enjoy time with yourself, loving pets and doing things like reading, etc. that can be wonderful.If you desire more connection or fear etc, than we are talking something else.

Dear MAry,
Funny how we amaze ourselves when we take a step out of our comfort area. Keep writing and expressing and you will find your way to greater strength and resolve. I'm rootin' for ya!

Dear Clare,
It stars US actor Ryan Gosling, UK actress Emily Mortimer.I love her work. She uses an American accent so well in this one!

heiresschild said...

i think i used to have a mild form of social anxiety. i used to be so shy, but now i can talk without being self-conscious, and i go to the movies by myself and laugh at the funny parts without thinking about someone looking at me like i'm crazy. i ate lunch at a restaurant by myself for the first time ever a couple of months ago, and i wasn't self-conscious at all. growth? i think so!

Anonymous said...

My son has what I think is social anxiety disorder but over the years it has been compounded by people not understanding him and him being unable to make friends. He is a wonderful son who has absolutely no confidence and it has even affected his ability to feel competent in the work place. Though he has many gifts, he just can't seem to make people feel at ease around him nor does he feel at ease around them.(He has seen a psychologist and tried medication, to no avail...) At your recommendation I just finished watching this movie. I too thought it touching and beautiful. I wish the community coming together to support this young man was something that would happen in real life. I thank you for telling us about this lovely film.

Crackerlilo said leaving her (or his) family behind helped. My son is thinking maybe he needs to make a new start somewhere else. Maybe I will encourage it for his sake.I feel it would either make or break him.


Ian Lidster said...

The scores of maladaptive processes like substance abuse to genuine mental illnesses and even such hideous manifestations as rape, suicide and murder are virtually all based on social maladaption. What is the standard phrase used when somebody mows down a bunch of people at a college or fast-food joint? "He was a loner." Valuable points to consider.
Can't report on the film as I haven't seen it.

'Tart said...

I wonder if I have Social Anxiety, as I love to stay at home and simply not have people looking at me or have to interact with them. Or my friends that I do have over are verrrry understanding people that I feel very comfortable around. I thought it was just the bipolar in me. I don't know how you separate the two. Since you likely know about the two diagnoses:), "Do the two disorders just go hand in hand?"
Just wondering, and thanks again for a thought provoking post.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite books I read this year was "Party of One: A Loner's Manifesto". It presents being a "loner" in a different and kinder light.


Wanda's Wings said...

I have PTSD with flash backs. The article under trauma about flash backs was the best information I have ever received. Thanks so much. Wanda

Tracy said...

I know i have social Anxiety. I have to work so hard in overcoming it, as the years have passed and i have healed, i find myself less anxious, but still have a problem. I will have to check out this out. Thank you once again for sharing.

princessdominique said...

I have to stop by more often. I keep forgetting how interesting your blog is. Last time I came by you were planning for a vacation. I guess I have to read the archives.

Michelle said...

I love Ryan Gosling as an actor. I'll have to check this out. Anytime Hollywood handles mental illness in an understanding way -- its gotta be a good thing. I'll have to check it out.

jumpinginpuddles said...

i know fo some people with this disorder adn its a frightening terrible world for them at times. I think to some degree we ahve soem alters who have this so it was interesting to find out more about it.

Tracy said...

Hi Deb. I gave you a brilliant award today on my site. Please come by and pick it up, since i think you are rather brilliant!


Casdok said...

Sounds interesting, as i am going through a very anxious time at the mo (so am avoiding people!) i will check it out.

phd in yogurtry said...

Have not seen or heard of "Lars." Will look for it.

When I think of social anxiety portrayed in the movies, I immediately think of Nick Cage playing Charlie in Adaptation. The restaurant scene, beads of sweat on his forehead. Excellent!

Winrob said...

Social Anxiety is my middle name. I get so worked up when I have to have a BD, Graduation or any party's for my kids. I have anxiety attacks and won't go to 'surprise party's', I can't imagine ever being able to cope if any one tried to pull a 'surprise party for me'. My family know I will walk out because of pure panic. On the other hand, I have no problems being social during work. I am actually quite social and friendly.

SeaSpray said...

I know someone with that in socializing with other people and it is emotionally crippling and affect those close to them as well.

Deb said...

Dear Heiress,
Wow, that is so great. When I was younger, I recall being so shy and inhibited that I couldn't hail a cab or eat alone when traveling. I worked through it and now it is second nature. But I can totally related to the social anxiety of things.

Dear Bonnie,
Taking chances and monitoring how you do while in the moment helps to take the anxiety away. Keep in mine that trying is the goal to praise, not whether success is attained. I'd also look into talk therapy for building skills and possibly medication if the anxiety is unmanageble. Nowadays, so much is neurobiological. And I will check out that book.

Dear Ian,
I think you'd like the movie, my friend.

Dear Tart,
As each of us is unique, so will be the issues we deal with. So you can experience many different things. Just know who you are, and what you need to keep you feeling strong and happy. That's what matters.

Dear Wanda,
Flashbacks are so rough. I think I will repost that one for others to read.

Dear Tracy,
Thank YOU for sharing. Comments helps other bloggers see that they are not alone. And thanks for the award ;)

Dear Princess,
I always adore when you visit.

Dear Michelle,
His acting was so superior. And I've seen him in a range of different roles recently. Talk about talent.

Dear Casdok,
So sorry to hear you are going through a rough time.

Dear Ph.D. in Yogurtry,
Nick CAge was great in that role!!

Dear Winrob,
You and I are very much alike in this regard!

Dear Seaspray,
Sad to hear that it is so crippling for this person. Medication *can* be helpful. Pass that along, perhpas?

Anonymous said...

Loved this movie. I actually heard about it on the Howard Stern show when he was talking about it with Robin Quivers. They both loved the movie so I decided to give to give it a shot. I was glad I did. It's a nice, subtle little movie.

I don't want to say too much and spoil it for everyone. I just thought it was beautiful how love can break through barriers. Love and reassurance from everyone pulled him out of himself and back into the world.

And when he brought the **** home to meet his bother and sister-in-law...the look on their faces was absolutely priceless. LOL! :) Great acting by RG.

SeaSpray said...

Thank you Dr Deb. Resistant, resistant..RESISTANT!

Zee said...

Hey Dr. Deb,
I have seen this movie and reviewed it already. I don't know how to hyperlink, but I trust you know how to cut and paste.

Anxiety Attack Symptoms said...

Overcoming anxiety is no small task.
It takes practice and a lot of hard work.

I used to have panic attacks once a week
due to my high anxiety, so I definitely feel
for you. Fortunately, I can do a lot more
for you than empathize.

By utilizing the techiques below, I was slowly
able to gain control over my anxiety and stop
my panic attacks from occuring. If you
exercise these techiques regularly, you too
will see great improvements in anxiety,
tension and stress.


As the anxiety creeps up, begin to count in
your head. Count 1,2,3,4 -- 1,2,3,4 -- 1,2,3,4
pausing on the dashes and so on.

You're not going to actually say or
even think the numbers. You're going
to breath the numbers.

Take a deep breath in through your
nose for the 1 and 2. Then take a
deep breath out through your mouth
for the 3 and 4. Practice this routine
for a few minutes a day until it
becomes an automated exercise for you.

Practicing really helps a lot.
Practice in a controlled environment.
I used to practice before bed. When
panic does hit, this self-defense
mechanism kicks in without effort.

Control Your Thinking:

When you have negative thoughts,
negative things will come into your
life. Conversely when you have positive
thoughts, positive things will come
into your life.

That's because thoughts steer the
direction of your life.

The same holds true in moments of high
anxiety. It's important during these
times to monitor your thoughts and
make sure you force calming ideas
and images into your head.

Nothing is really as bad as it seems and ten
years from now,this particularly stressful
situation won't exist - so control your
thinking to avoid your mind from falling
into a negative thought spiral.

As soon as you have a negative thought,
throw it out of your head and
counterbalance yourself with a
positive or optimistic thought.

This is a hard one, but after
you monitor your thoughts for
a week or two, you begin to think
more positive in general.

These two tactics helped me a lot.

Other helpful ideas are:
- Participat in Therapy
- Talk to someone you trust
- Exercise (cardio works best)
- Yoga
- Stretching
- Reading
- Meditation
- Take a hot shower
- Go for a Walk
- Listen to Music
For more Great Tips,

Anonymous said...

Anxiety is a part of life for everyone. It is quite normal to feel anxious over certain circumstances however it becomes a problem when a person is anxious over seemingly small, trivial or non existent factors. This is known as an Anxiety Disorder and is a recognized mental illness.

yu said...

Thank you for your recommendation for the movie.
I liked it very much.
Lars is me, exactly...
I also have social anxiety, and am suffering this since a child.
it's really beautiful movie i've ever seen.
thank you.