Here is the note I emailed the show:
I am one of many individuals who have social anxiety disorder. We all suffer in silence because of the nature of our disease, and many of us go most of our lives without knowing there are treatment options such as medication and therapy.
Social anxiety in many cases causes stagnation in growth and social development, with little support from individuals outside of the disorder. Educating the public on the physical symptoms of the problem as well as individuals who are unknown SAD sufferers is critical.
I have had social anxiety all of my life. I only realized my problem after doing a case study on a patient in school, and much self-study on the topic. Looking back, the disorder caused me to miss an overwhelming amount of days in elementary, middle and high school... avoid peers, after school events and other social activities. As an adult I found myself avoiding typical daily situations such as going to the grocery store, church and family gatherings. It has nearly severed my relationship with my new in-laws, as they are very social creatures.
Social anxiety is so difficult because it conflicts with normal human emotions. There is a need and longing to be with and around other individuals and be social, however, the physical strain make it often very overwhelming. Tense muscles in the face and jaw, mental restlessness, worry, sweating and blushing accompanies this extreme anxiety while in public. Being confined to loneliness seems to be the only option to avoid the symptoms many times.
All too often I hear the response "get over it" or "you shouldn’t care what people think". It’s just not that easy.. it is uncontrollable, and many people don’t understand nor are sympathetic. Other SAD sufferers and myself know our thoughts and symptoms are irrational, but regardless we cannot change the chemical functioning of our brain.
Please educate the public, we are a mass audience that is often overlooked.. and as a result, we continue to suffer in the silence of our disease with little support and understanding from non-sufferers.