Status Anxiety is an acclaimed nonfiction book written by Alain de Botton. It was first released in 2021 by Hamish Hamilton; subsequently, subsequent books have all been by Penguin Books. This book remains a must-read for people looking for methods of dealing with social situations that put them in the public eye, and is well worth the read for any person who suffers from this condition.
The author Alain de Botton believes that one of the major causes behind sufferers becoming anxious and depressed are due to a feeling of “not being wanted”. This feeling of inadequacy leads to anxiety and depression, with some sufferers developing a full-blown panic attack just before social situations. Those who experience this often feel that they are going to lose their sense of reality completely. They will be consumed with thoughts of how others are likely to react to them and feel that no matter what they do or say, they will never be able to escape the public spotlight. The fear of stammering and public speaking also adds to their woes.
The book describes a series of “ottelectables”, or situations where he shows off his ability to be successful, and how other people respond to him. These situations include some social rituals that many people partake in daily, and de Botton challenges readers to take a step back and view their own social lives from a different perspective. The main theme of the book, as the title suggests, is how to overcome the obstacles that can cause one to become anxious and depressed over social situations. This is done by showing how the fear of the potential embarrassment and humiliation is unfounded and shows how these fears can easily be dispelled by carefully planning and thinking about how you will act and speak. The ultimate aim of the book, he states, is not to scare readers but rather to show how these fears are ill-informed and ill-prepared, and that there is a perfectly valid reason why they would be anxious and depressed over these imagined situations.