New Foundation Sheds Light on Social Anxiety
You know the feeling you get when you walk into a room filled with strangers? It is normal to be nervous and difficult to make conversation.
Now, imagine living with that feeling, multiplied by 100, every day of your life. That’ is what life is like for millions of Americans who suffer from Social Anxiety disorder.
We know. Our son was one of them. Before taking his own life three years ago, our son, Andy, struggled for more than a decade trying to figure out what was wrong with him. When we finally determined it was Social Anxiety, it was too late.
We formed the Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety to raise awareness for this condition and help prevent suffering by other families. Because we are native Detroiters (Andy was born here and is buried here), we launched the Foundation last month here in Metro Detroit. Part of that launch was a community event, entitled “Misunderstood No More,” hosted by Macomb County Community Mental Health, in Sterling Heights. Here, hundreds of people were able to hear the facts about Social Anxiety, in an effort to better understand it. Macomb County has an opportunity to be a leader in identifying, and treating Social Anxiety.
We decided that it was time to start a new conversation about Social Anxiety, starting here and building across the country. The name may sound harmless, but the disorder is complex, cruel and anything but simple. Social Anxiety is far more than shyness and a fear of public speaking. It is an addiction to avoidance and a disease of resistance. It can be a devastating, all-consuming phobia or anxious thoughts and behaviors that only surface during specific situations. Social Anxiety is as diverse as those who suffer from this misunderstood disorder.
It is easy to learn more. We invite you to join us on the evening of October 25th. That would have been Andy’s 33rd birthday. We will be online that night to tell the story of our family’s journey to find answers and take your questions, in a live video web chat, to share advice that could help a family you know. It starts at 7:30pm on the Foundation’s website at www.akfsa.org. The site is designed to be a hub of information about Social Anxiety. We invite you to join us on the 25th, or anytime the site can be helpful.
Information provided by Jeff and Patty Kukes.