And more importantly does it need to be?
The cure for most phobias is to gradually face your fears, then hopefully realise that there is no threat. Although a fear of heights is not hard to avoid unless you are a window cleaner or rock climber. I have never even seen a snake outside of a zoo in England so it’s hardly life changing and even a fear of spiders does not usually stop people marrying, having kids or affect their career. Yet people talk about these all the time as if they are common. Socially anxiety affects all these normal life events and more. That’s because you can’t usually avoid people unless you dont leave the house. It may if left unchecked result in intense depression and even suicide.
The non meds CBT cure for depression is to make you do more of the things that you used to enjoy and give you hope. There is usually some sympathy and understanding. By comparison the cure for social anxiety is to make you face your fears over and over again and hope you get used to it. And then some people like to insinuate that it’s all your own fault for not doing the hard work and that you deserve to suffer for being a coward as if you have committed some heinous crime. There are posts like that on the anxiety forum, the tough love approach. This one person even ridicules people for living off benefits as if they are scroungers. What a C**T. I am sure more guilt tripping is only going to make such people even more ashamed and think of killing themselves. The Kick Up the Backside approach only works for moderate shyness you stupid folker. If its more serious and combined with depression it actually makes many people worse. She even mocks people for still living at home as if they should be ashamed . Again this encourages suicide. Many such people are already ashamed. yet as the dumb ignorant ****er is apparently being positive she still gets some kind of good feedback as if its help. How is taking the piss out of people help?
Anyway I never really had a fear of attractive girls, public speaking or being the centre of attention. I had a fear of the resulting humiliation these things caused which was much worse than pain. so my brain realising that I cant get killed or hurt by repeating socially humiliating tasks over and over again will not help, as I still face humiliation. Social events that made me anxious often resulted in public ridicule and isolation. Not being physically threatened did not stop my anxiety or make it get less.
A shy man forcing himself to speak to a pretty woman may do better than expected and gain confidence. A man who acts excruciatingly shy and awkward will often make her feel very uncomfortable and get a bad reaction which only makes him more avoidant. Something even the CBT therapists have not got a grasp on at all. The humiliation this brings stays with you for life and the fear of it coming back never goes away. If you choose death over CBT and exposures then its more serious
The only physical comparison I can think of is that its like getting run over by a bad driver in a car. It’s not your fault that you are now ill. Social anxiety for instance is almost always caused by upbringing or events in childhood. However just like a car crash which requires months of intensive physiotherapy we are the only ones that can improve our health and situation. Therapy for social anxiety requires months or years of putting ourselves in discomforting and uncomfortable situations which may actually cause intense humiliation. If done badly just like physiotherapy it can make us much worse. They even try t get some people to sing on the street and make complete morons of themselves in public. Then they wonder why 80% of people never seek treatment.
The thing is I could imagine my-self doing intensive physiotherapy as I used to do lots and lots of weight trying until I could barely stand up. I could handle certain amounts of physical pain or exhaustion. Yet doing things that would create intense humiliation like trying to make lame small talk to strangers or public speaking and I would rather be punched unconscious. That’s because humiliation is far worse for me and of course you already have to be happy and positive to even start talking making CBT pointless. You also have to not blush, stammer and act mute which I was once but the memories remain. Even without the now constant hopelessness and depression if you would put me back in the body of a 21 year old again with no depression I would still probably rather die that do intensive CBT. That’s because CBT only works for people who are already motivated and have hope. If you have the drive and motivation to do absolutely anything to change your social anxiety then great but stop pretending that people who have failed are all weak or simply cowards and deserving of pain and loneliness. In another place and time I would have fought in battle and to the death as my ancestors did. Cowardice is not all the same.