I walked down the street the other day wearing dark glasses and a peaked baseball style cap as normal. It was at least sunny and warm. As I live in a busy city there were lots of people coming my way, many making their way home from work or studies as there is a university not far away and it was past 4PM.
All I could kept thinking about was is it normal to make eye contact with strangers or even smile at them on the street? I say this because its yet another of the so called simple exposure tasks for social anxiety I have read about online. What is the etiquette considering I am single man in my forties? There was absolutely no explanation about the rules of engagement. Some men are aggressive and in gangs and would see eye contact as a challenge. Smiling at young people sounds a bit creepy to me like you are after something or fancy them especially younger women. Do strangers really smile at other people on the street in a busy city at all and why the F**k would I want to. How many would smile back or even think I was insane?
Its yet another moronically stupid peace of advice for anxiety which would claim to be quite a normal thing to do and see me as highly negative or irrational for daring to object and yet in reality could get me attacked, abused or thought of as being even stranger than I am already. Perhaps the therapists who invent this crap all live in peaceful idyllic towns in fantasy land where everyone is friendly and kind. Perhaps they think everyone with anxiety is 23 and attractive also.
To make me feel even more negative I also read this on a forum from someone with social anxiety this morning on CBT therapy.
Professionals often set a very high bar for you, then really do lay into you when you can’t reach it – blaming you for everything and then in the next breath genuinely wonder why you lack confidence.
It sounds staggering doesn’t it? Kind and supportive environment my arse! There are just so many people online who claim to have had terrible experiences with NHS therapists and also their doctors who appear to think its their God given right to get annoyed and irritated with patients who dont recover with therapy or dare to go back for more help. Someone only last week said their doctor was looking up social anxiety on Wikipedia as they had never even heard of it. Yet every single website and doctor on TV tells you to see your GP immediately as if there is fantastic help available and almost immediately. Don’t suffer alone! Go to your GP and get told off like you are a small child!