How Do I Stay Recovered?

This episode was recorded on a beach by myself in a spot where my cell/mobile phone gets no signal, where there were no people to save me if I needed to be saved, and where I was far from help. This is a place I would never have come by myself when I was struggling, but I don’t even think about it now. This is part III in a series of podcasts where I’ll take you to places that I was once terrified to go. I hope you find some hope or inspiration in this one.

People often ask me what I do to stay recovered and to be sure that anxiety doesn’t come back. To be honest with you, I don’t really do anything to stay recovered and I don’t have to worry about “it” coming back because there is no “it” in my life any more. Anxiety and fear stopped being “it” many years ago from my point of view as a fully recovered person. In this episode I talk about my changed relationship with anxiety and fear, why I don’t have to do anything to stay recovered, and why doing healthy, helpful things is a good idea even when they have nothing to do with anxiety or anxiety recovery.

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  • One common fear and associated avoidance among anxious people is the fear of being too far from “help” and therefore refusing to be in remote or isolated areas, even for short periods of time.
  • The fear that anxiety will be “too much” or that medical attention or other rescue might be needed is powerful. It once drove me to miss out on many beautiful places and great experiences.
  • I am thankful that I can enjoy those places now because I’m no longer afraid of my own body and thoughts.
  • So how do I stay this way?  People often ask me how I stay recovered.
  • The short answer is that I really don’t do anything specifically to stay recovered. I feel like there’s nothing to recover from any more so there’s really nothing for me to do in that area. I don’t fear being anxious or having symptoms or thoughts so there’s nothing to “protect” against for me.
  • If this seems like an impossible place to get to, remember that you are judging your ability based on how you relate to anxiety TODAY.  That relation will change over time.  I was once really afraid just like you are but I learned through experience that anxiety and all the things that come with it do not have to be treated like emergencies all the time.
  • I have no anxious avoidance in that anxiety and how I might feel is never considered when making choices in my life.  Not ever.  It’s a total non-factor for me, so I really don’t have to do anything special to stay recovered.
  • I do have some things that I think are good for me and that keep me connected to the good habits I developed during the recovery process!
    • I do not avoid discomfort or hide from it.  If there’s a challenge, I’m going right at it.
    • I try to eat well because everyone should!
    • I am making an effort to develop better sleep habits, because if I am feeling tired more often, I clearly need more sleep.  It’s not an anxiety thing at all.
    • I try to maintain healthy, close relationships with people I care about.  This is a HUGE protective factor in anyone’s life when it comes to wellness.
    • I exercise all the time because I want to be healthy and physically capable, not to ward off anxiety.
    • I do a pretty good job of managing stress so it never gets to an unbearable level for any length of time.
  • Do these habits help keep me “in the groove” and relating to anxiety the way I learned in recovery?  They probably do in some way but I I don’t engage in these habits to stay recovered.  I engage in them to take good care of myself overall.
  • It’s hard to argue with the many people in our community that are proud of the fact that they fully recovered and remain recovered without exercise, without meditation, without journaling, and while eating what most would consider a somewhat unhealthy diet. We all get to make our choices and while I might not choose to live that way, I can’t argue with the fact that “bad habits” are not hurting those folks.  The point is that once we learn the lessons of recovery, all the “tips and tricks” start to become irrelevant. That’s not a bad thing.

How do I keep it from coming back?  I don’t, because there has not been an “IT” in my life for a very long time.


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


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Founder and host of The Anxious Truth Podcast. Former anxiety disorder sufferer. Now fully recovered and dedicated to providing no-nonsense, straight-forward, actionable advice on how to overcome anxiety problems.