DIALOGUE Number 5 – Try not to be overly ‘careful’ with yourself after panic

This dialogue took place not long after Julie had tried an extreme exposure and had gone into panic. She was feeling quite vulnerable, on edge and was being ultra careful with her behaviour in case she triggered more panic.

Ji want to just keep sleeping. – not talk to anyone – not do anything

R – i want to suggest that you NOT be careful with yourself

just get on with it

you had a panic attack

Jlol i am doing exactly that… i did not even put on tv ..so i don’t see any scary ads.

R – I know

so right now u make the decision to get on with your day

just do what u would normally do

don’t be careful

J yes

R – don’t watch how u walk or move etc

just let whatever is be

J yes

R – it was JUST adrenaline

u were in no danger nor are u now

nor would u be if u had more panic

and u would just work through it again

no problem

if u feel jittery – say “it’s ok to panic – it’s ok to be jittery – go ahead..”

laugh when u see yourself being very careful

Ji know i am much better than i used to be .. yes

R – u had a lot of panic

and simply going over the practice

and sticking with it

brought it RIGHT down

fairly quickly


really quickly

my god .. how my mind worked this morning.

R – u got to see how u resisted practice

and how that was just a complete waste of time

J i was doing everything.. panicking.. practising.. trying to observe like a script..

observing whats happening to me..

R – so – once u finally stuck with the practice it calmed

and that was exactly because you stopped stirring

so now you see for yourself


R – ironically – it was YOU causing your OWN adrenaline surge



R – but also

see the truth

NOTHING bad was actually happening

Jyes.. i thought about that.

R – it just ‘felt’ bad

Jso I thought .. why not do it again?


R – it REALLY IS just horrible feelings

Jit felt so good that i attempted that..

going out like that .. thinking let anything happen

i missed that so much .

R – u will do that VERY soon but its important that you do it GRADUALLY

its like a fear of heights and going up highest mountain to hang over the edge – it

CAN work

but it also can just be TOO scary

Jand while going i was telling myself that i wont feel panic.. i will be out of panic in two days .. why two months… because if i understand its just adrenaline.. i will go through it peacefully.

then i kept talking to the taxi driver .

R – the problem is you didn’t WANT to panic

Jbut in the queue for the ticket i felt so scared..

although at the same time .. i thought it would be ok if i panicked. too.

R – your mission in your head was to go as far as you could and NOT panic

but exposure means going out to ALLOW yourself to panic – GRADUALLY

not to just either hope you won’t panic or if you do you will bear it bravely

Jthen when i entered railway station .. i thought i would faint

R – u need to get a correct understanding about exposure practice

Jstill i drank tea.. it was too sweet..

R – are u listening 🙂

Ji felt so scared.. what if my sugar was high

sorry – kept writing

R – u are going over script

which gets u nowhere

like gossip for your mind

J yes

R – simply see that this extreme exposure didn’t work and leave it at that

then figure out how to do exposure properly and gradually


R – u need to do so many repetitions of low level panic until there is no problem

u need to work it out


R – i will help

we will make a new hierarchy of going out of town

and u need to repeat it every day


and before u know it it will be no problem

J yes

R – u did ‘flooding’

which rarely works


R – nor did u memorise your coping statements

nor did u bring a flashcard

or anything

J yes

R – nor did you work out an achievable goal

J but good thing was that i panicked.

so i saw that it’s just adrenaline

R – but this has been good lesson

when u help others u will know not to tell them to do too much too soon


but why not?

if its just adrenaline? why isn’t it ok to do ‘too much’?

R – its ALWAYS been ‘just adrenaline’

Jif they want to try doing too much?

R – you have ALWAYS been safe

nothing has changed on THAT score

Jthen why not do too much?

R – but that adrenaline frightens u to death

Julie: why not keep saying let anything happen.

R – because its too ‘scary’ and we escape and this can stop us from doing regular exposure work – why make people suffer unnecessarily

if u do it your way it could take much longer to recover

J just trying to make sure .. that its just adrenaline .. and not any danger .. whatever

i tried to do .

i mean .. even if i tried something bigger .. i wont be harmed .. mentally

i wont go mad

or die

R – of course not

Jif i tried to do something big

R – but it’s easier if you do it GRADUALLY

Jyes.. but please understand my point.. i am talking in panic

i want to know.. if accidentally i get into such situation.. still i wont be in any danger

of death or going mad

R – are u concerned that me saying this is almost like saying you ARE in danger


Ah – i see


R – that is ‘safety talk’

Jbecause i am still in some panic

R – can you catch it?



R – i am talking about TIME

u are NEVER in any REAL danger

but u THINK you are

so it feels horrible

and flooding can put you off further practice

Ji understand what you are saying

i agree

R – all is ok – u are in no danger

its a matter of why bother stirring when u don’t have to lol

J lol


i like that better

R – ok

ok – u will need to – over next few days – memorise coping skills


Robin: to replace your script



R – and keep smiling


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