After the CBT therapist who assessed me yesterday suggested the Gillian Butler book: Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness to me as well as pretty much everyone else in the know about SA has, I thought I’d give it another read through. Now, one of the key things in there is about how you develop distorted beliefs about yourself and working out how to look at things in a different way. This is where it breaks down for me though, I appreciate the author is good at explaining what happens to socially anxious people in certain situations and identifies a lot of the thought processes that lead to these reactions but her methods of dealing with them aren’t really that great in my opinion. They might be ok if you only have a mild case of SA, or if you really aren’t ugly/clumsy/boring or whatever you think about yourself. They say you should look up what evidence there is to support your beliefs, in the hope that you won’t find any and that will allow you to challenge them. Well I decided to do a little exercise from the book and see what evidence there is for my negative beliefs about myself.
|I’m ugly||I would just post a picture but I don’t want the whole world knowing exactly who I am. I have been told so by many, many people. Probably in the region of 30-40. I’ve been called every name under the sun, laughed at directly to my face, pointed at and laughed at, people look at me and whisper to others and snigger, I can see mirrors. 24 years old and no-one has ever found me attractive, never been in a relationship. Optician told me I have a fat face, I’m overweight, pale, freckled, my eyes look half closed and it causes me vision problems.|
|I’m boring||I have no hobbies or interests. I’ve had no friends since 1996, never go out anywhere or do anything. I don’t drink or like clubs or loud places. I don’t play any sports. There’s nothing interesting about me whatsoever, besides as a possible scientific study in isolation. I hardly leave my room. I’m so scared of people I sometimes don’t eat because I’d have to interact with them. I can’t start or maintain conversations. I don’t have strong feelings about music, tv programs or whatever else is popularly done. I don’t know anything about books, films, music, any topic of conversation you could possibly think about. I spend probably 50% of my free time in bed, alone. I don’t care about mundane details of people’s lives like who is going out with who.It’s obvious from the fact that I have no friends and that nobody would want to spend time with me. At best, I am ignored and invisible to everyone.|
|I’m socially inept||This can be interpreted from the previous two really. I don’t know how to talk to people and haven’t had any friends in upwards of a decade. Never had a girlfriend ever. I go days without speaking a single word to anyone. Every time I’ve tried to speak to someone they get away as soon as they can and never show any interest in talking to me again. People avoid me if they know who I am and how utterly boring and inept I am.|
That’s all I can be bothered to write out for now, I might do the rest in a later post. As you can see though, there is no lack of evidence for my beliefs and there is no evidence to suggested they are distorted in a major way. I don’t know how they are going to argue against this and convince me to change my mind. If they can come up with something that makes logical sense then I’m open to it, but I don’t think there is such an argument to be made.
Unfortunately I feel like CBT or any other self-help approach is based on the false assumption that “everyone is ok” and no-one is fundamentally unacceptable within a society. Whatever approach they take with me, they’re going to face an uphill battle because I am objectively defective and weird.