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Scheuermann’s Disease Making Me Socially Awkward

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From the U.S.: I have been diagnosed with Scheuermann’s Disease which affects my posture. As a result I have difficulty establishing a posture that I am comfortable with. The problem is that in social situations I have difficulty appearing normal because I am always compensating for my posture. People only see that sometimes I might include them in my vision and think that I am doing it to offend them. If I just let my head face downwards I feel like I am doing harm to my body and depriving myself of a universal right. It has gotten to the point where people take a quick glance at me whenever they see me because they think I am going to take an offensive look at them. I can’t seem to break free of this pattern and it has been going on for years. How do you suggest I deal with this?

Scheuermann’s Disease Making Me Socially Awkward

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A.

You didn’t mention if you have explored treatment options. There are both non-surgical and surgical interventions for managing or mitigating Scheuermann’s Disease (a curvature of the upper spine that can result in a humped back). If you haven’t already done so, the first thing to do is to talk to your doctor about your options. You might also want to research options on the internet to prepare for that discussion.

If people you know are the people who are taking offense, please consider telling them about your medical problem. People often get uncomfortable with something they don’t understand. A little information can go a long way toward making both you and them more comfortable. For people new to your life, you may need to come up with a simple explanation to alert them to the fact that you aren’t being rude but instead are accommodating a medical problem.

For example: I wear hearing aids. One of the first things I say to people I need to interact with (whether a clerk at a store or a new colleague) is something like, “I wear hearing aids so if I ask you to repeat yourself, it’s not that you weren’t clear, it’s that I need a repeat to understand you.” It has never been a problem. However, it has been a problem when I’ve forgotten to tell people up front that I’m hard of hearing. Then folks get annoyed with my misunderstandings or my requests for repeats — until I remember I have to let them in on the problem.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Scheuermann’s Disease Making Me Socially Awkward

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Scheuermann’s Disease Making Me Socially Awkward. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/09/24/scheuermanns-disease-making-me-socially-awkward/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.