One of my friends at work let it slip that he does not typically eat lunch. When I asked why he was not eating at the soup kitchen like most of our community members I found that his social anxiety and fear of new experiences played a key role in keeping him from doing so.
Were I a psychologist I would encourage him to re-frame the issue. Were I a good psychologist and/or therapist I would teach him the skills to calm himself when anxious (such as breathing exercises).
Were I a psychiatrist I would write a script for an anti-anxiety medication and send him on his way.
Some ministers would look at my friend and try to put his fear and anxiety into perspective, citing passages in the Bible that encourage us to not be afraid. Certainly these texts are helpful. My friend does not need a pretty little passage, nor does he need instructions on where to walk. This is ultimately unhelpful when you are afraid of the walking itself.
In times like these you need someone to walk with you.
Today we had a “lunch date,” he and I, at the soup kitchen.
The chicken fingers were good; the company outstanding. I hope to do it again next week.