Interesting. I do actually feel that this is the prevailing general attitude in society (it shouldn't be, obviously). Perhaps in a way that it doesn't seem to be any more with other mental health problems. Is that my own personal bias, or am I right?
I don't think that's your personal bias. I think most people think that way. I think there are two main reasons for that.
First (and Guntrip makes a good argument for this in Schizoid Phenomena, Object Relations and the Self
), people hate weakness (ie. fear) in themselves, and they hate to see it in others. It tends to create a feeling of disgust. Which is why historically we've treated 'cowards', 'yellow-bellies', etc., so harshly. We don't tend to have the same disgust reaction to other kinds of mental illness. Psychosis tends to create fear, we tend to feel pity toward depression, etc. Disgust, as you know, is a powerful emotion, and the response is usually a loss of empathy.
Second, the treatment for anxiety is usually some form of exposure therapy, which, to a lay person, sounds like "just do it." Even some therapists think about the problem that way
. So the way we treat anxiety tends to reinforce the idea that the patient is personally responsible for having anxiety.
The the other guy say he just wants "to scream at people when he is giving them therapy to just ****ing do it" "Face your fear." "even if it dosent work out you will feel better about yourself for trying and the only way to get over stuff is to expose yourself to it." But that people are "to big of p's to face their fears"
Ofc, anxiety, and treating anxiety, is actually very complex and the above attitude is asinine.
When I said that we should not expect anyone to cure their own anxiety what I meant was not that the patient doesn't have to do anything themselves, but that they shouldn't be expected to have the kind of insight and understanding of technique inside themselves already to solve the problem. That insight and those techniques have to come from other people, just like a knowledge of calculus has to come from other people. When we imply that people should "just do it" and "cure" their own anxiety through "exposure" we're basically expecting them to do something sort of equivalent to reinventing calculus. Most people are not going to be able to do that. It's taken specialists over a hundred years to acquire the knowledge we have about anxiety.
We need specialists to teach these skills to people who do not inherently know them. And supportive environments to learn them in would be nice, too. Most of the time we send these people right back into the environments that created the problem.