18 July to 29 July – On medication but still no sign of any worksheets or homework

18 Jul 2017

Hi D

How are you getting on?

19 Jul

Hello Robin,

How really lovely to hear from you.  Thank you for your contact.

Following our last correspondence, I saw my GP who put me on 100mg of Sertraline.  She confirmed I had anxiety and suggested I should receive counselling.  She also took a blood test to check my thyroid function.

Thyroid is ok and the tablets did make me feel poorly in the beginning plus I did feel quite a bit more anxious in the beginning, but I was warned about this.  However, I don’t feel so poorly on the tablets now but the anxiety is only decreasing slowly.  I’ve had 1 telephone contact with a counsellor who, after asking me some questions, said I only scored low to medium on the anxiety scale , which pleased me greatly because I thought I was way beyond help!  I have another telephone appointment due next week and in the meantime, I have been sent some literature to read, but it’s all information I know already.

So, I am progressing albeit very slowly although, I have developed a real reluctance to go outside.  I don’t know how to overcome all the strange feelings which come over me when I go out.  I feel ok in the house but the minute I go out, I feel ALL the feelings and fears of fear associated with fight, flight and anxiety.  I know what they are but I seem to find it harder than anyone else to ignore them and not give them credence. 

I have been greatly helped with your emails and workbooks and I hope I’m doing everything properly.  I went out the other evening with a friend in her car for a little ride to the coast.  On the way there, I felt I was NOT breathing and the feelings that spread through me were horrendous.  I was begging of her to take me back home.  I felt so scared.  I was sure I was going to DIE. 

She turned the car round but then I remembered all your words and I knew I would not get better if I scurried home. So we turned round and headed back to the coast.  Eventually the feelings subsided, but Robin, I find it all so difficult to understand and I really don’t know how to be UNAFRAID of all the strangeness and fear that anxiety brings. 

I must admit I was pleased with myself but I haven’t dared to go out since!!!  I have to go to Cheltenham tomorrow to a funeral and I am dreading it.  I’m fearful already in case I feel “strange”.  I want to make an excuse NOT to go but I have got to overcome this.  I never used to have a problem travelling anywhere, be it alone or in company, but now at the moment, I hate going too far from home.

As for my thoughts, they are also getting a little better and again, I have been greatly helped by your email of 11th  May where you explain that “it is not the content, it is the process” and you gave me examples of other people’s thoughts and told me that my thoughts were not that exciting and believe me, I have read and re read this email many times.

So, I am still battling on, Robin,  and I am DETERMINED with all your help and advice to conquer this anxiety.  Thank you so much for being there for me in the past, and thank you so much for this last email.  I cannot tell you how encouraged you have made me.

I would welcome any pieces of advice you can offer with regard to my outing tomorrow.  I shall take my iPad with me so I can keep all your information to hand – but I think you might say I’m  “fiddling in my handbag”!!!!

Lovely to hear from you.  Thank you.


Hi Diane

I’m glad you went to your GP – its good to hear from a doctor that it’s ‘just’ anxiety

and meds really can help – dont be afraid to up the dose – I’m sure they have you on a low dose to begin with

You know me and how blunt I can be (trying my best to help) and reading your email it really seems like you have never properly read the book on exposure – otherwise I have no idea why you seem so bewildered as to why you feel this way or that or what to do about being afraid to go out – it really couldn’t be any clearer in the workbooks regarding how you need to do planned gradual exposure??

Have you actually read that book?

Have you ever done any planned graduated exposure?

I still have yet to see any worksheets?

Of course I sympathise with your experiences of fear but you have the ‘medicine’ and you aren’t taking it??

Still very confused as to why not?

If you read through all the books repeatedly you would know that graduated repetitive planned exposure is absolutely essential and that taking one off trips into the midst of your fear is counter productive and just wastes your time and can set you back – even if you do push yourself through it its very hit or miss and you aren’t learning much – just re-triggering your fear

regular EVERY DAY repeated gradual planned exposure that uses flash cards and coping techniques is the way you will recover – very quickly

why you aren’t doing that is baffling to be honest??

I know it’s scary but it’s more scary to be suffering like this for the next 50 years in hiding – rather than take this process seriously and be determined to just do it?? even to just get started doing it

I mean even if you just go out the door every single day for 1 minute – then 2 then 3 then 4 then 5 then 6 – etc and just follow the practice and do the work and fill in the worksheets and learn about dealing with anxiety – observing it – studying it – and moving forward even a millimeter every day

I’m not trying to make you feel bad – just pointing out that its simple why you are still stuck – you aren’t doing what will help you get unstuck

They say that for some people there is an unconscious payoff for NOT doing the work required to get better – either they fear that if they were better they will have more responsibilities or they feel they will have to go out again and from their fear based level they dont want that so they put off getting well – or maybe they identify now with being ‘an anxious person’ – or something or other – you need to question in yourself honestly WHY you aren’t following the very very simple advice laid out in the books and in my emails?  You cant blame it on being afraid because filling in the worksheets or planning graduated exposure like going out the door for 1 minute then 2 etc is NOT that scary – so you need to ask deep down WHY am I not doing this??

Please please please spend some time working this out because its a HUGE sticking point for you??

19 Jul 2017

Oh you really are cross with me.  But I can absolutely assure you that I HAVE read, read and re read ALL the workbooks, plus watched all the videos.  I AM doing planned exposure and I DO work off my flash cards, but that still DOES NOT alter the fact that as soon as I step outside the door, I instinctively feel frightened by the feelings which sweep through me and they do not diminish with the exposure and these feelings – even though I know what they are related to – always have the power to terrify me. 

Everyone else seems to be able to get better once they lose their fear of the feelings through understanding.  Well I DO UNDERSTAND where the horrible feelings come from but each and every time I feel them, they still have the power to scare and overwhelm me.  I know that nothing happened to me last time, but then I think that maybe this time it will.

So please don’t be cross with me.  I’m working my way through this on my own, and I DO WANT TO GET BETTER.  I certainly am not afraid of responsibility, so I am not afraid of getting better.  I am just genuinely afraid of the feelings because I am convinced I will die, especially when I can ‘t feel I’m breathing at all and some of the feelings really do make you feel strange and weird.

I feel I am doing my best but clearly you don’t.  I’m sorry about that.  Please don’t give up on me.



I don’t get ‘cross’ with people who have anxiety – I do try to push them and annoy them enough to practice more 🙂

Can you send me your filled in worksheets and your planned exposure worksheets and the results of your exposure practice so that I can see what you are doing and maybe I can see why it’s not working?

just take pictures with your phone and send them

It’s hard for me to help if I don’t know exactly what way you are working with everything


29 Jul 2017

Hello Robin,

I’ve managed to retrieve these work sheets from the dog and have sent a selection for you to peruse and advise.  I can only send 5 at a time so there will be a second email after this one with some more.

I hope we  can continue to work together, Robin.  I would love to be free of this anxiety like you.

Thank you for your help thus far.



at this point there were problems sending worksheets due to scanning and so on


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