Recovery from anxiety, panic and agoraphobia is an ACTIVE process.

Nothing will improve if you just wait passively.

When we get sick (i.e. cold, sore throat, etc.), we retreat, rest and recover.  It does’t work that way with an anxiety disorder.

Retreat:  We take off from work or school. We cancel engagements and appointments.

Rest:  We lay in bed or on the sofa in our comfy clothing with our tissue box and asprin.

Recover:  We feel better after a few days and get back to the business of living.

Our bodies will fix things naturally through the magic of our immune systems. There’s no such mechanism for anxiety disorders. In fact, retreating and resting generally means avoiding, and that can actually make it HARDER to recover by making the disorder even worse.

YOU ARE NOT A HELPLESS VICTIM.  Everything you need to improve your situation is inside you right now. There are steps you can take – steps you NEED to take – to get better, and those steps should be taken right now.


  • Waiting for time to fix you won’t work. There’s no automatic background process going on that will get you your life back.
  • Waiting until you’re having a good day isn’t helpful. Anyone can accomplish stuff on a good day. You need to act on your worst days because progress happens when you actually experience panic and anxiety without avoiding or trying to escape.
  • Waiting until you find the right method is going to keep you stuck, because looking for the right method usually means looking for comfortable way out. None exists.
  • Finally, waiting for someone else to fix you is also not going to work. We all need support from other human beings, but support and encouragement won’t get you your life back. It helps, but by itself it doesn’t do anything. Its up to you to put in the work.

Before you can start to make real forward progress, you have to buy into the idea that there’s work to do, and that sometimes that work is going to be difficult.  If you’re ready, then lets go!

Start small.  Progress comes in small steps piled on top of each other.

Take a shower.  Get dressed.  Sit in your garden for a while.  Clean the house.  Take a short walk.  Drive down the street.  Do something you’re afraid to do.  Then do it again.  And again.  Then do something a bit harder.  Then do that again.  You get the idea.

Above all, once you stop waiting and start acting, keep acting.  Don’t stop.  No breaks.  No rest.  No vacations.  No rewarding yourself with a day under the covers.  At least not for the first few weeks. You need to build momentum, so be tenacious and be consistent in your action.

Understanding and accepting the concept of an active process can – by itself – change your outlook for the better.  Give it try!

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Podcast Intro/Outro Music: "Afterglow" by Ben Drake (With Permission)




Photo Credit: drewleavy via Compfight cc

Intro/Ending Music Credit: Title Autumn Day (Kevin MacLeod – incompetech.com) Licensed underCreative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 



Founder and host of The Anxious Truth podcast. Graduate student and therapist-in-training. Author and educator on the topic of anxiety disorders and anxiety recovery. Former anxious and depressed person.