You won't get better until you stop trying to get better


I recovered from several years of anxiety by following the advice in books written by the late Dr Claire Weekes, specifically, Essential Help For Your Nerves and a website called Anxiety No More created by Paul David, an ex-sufferer. Both teach the same basic principle which is to change your attitude towards anxiety so that you are comfortable about feeling uncomfortable. Allowing/giving space/accepting/letting go all the symptoms of anxiety is key to recovery because it gives your mind and body the chance to recover but you have to go through it to find peace on the other side. Your body is waiting to recover, no matter how deep or how long your suffering but you have to step out of the way of yourself and release your grip on anxiety. Anxiety hasn't gripped you, it's the other way round so you just need to practice letting go. A favourite quote I read is "You won't get better until you stop trying to get better" which sums it up perfectly. Don't try to fight your way out of it or try to fix yourself because there is no battle to fight, nothing to fix. It is your very struggle to get better that is holding you back from full recovery. You just need to step out of the way of yourself and let recovery find you. It will happen as sure as night follows day. If you don't do anything else today, take my advice and buy the book and/or visit the website which is free (unlike some other sites which also promote instant recover for a fee - Grrrrr) and full of useful information to help you change your attitude which leads to recovery. If I can do it, you can too.

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  • I appreciate this... But how do you stop trying to get better? I've been suffering for 7 years off and on.. When panic and anxiety overtakes you, what is the difference between fighting it and not fighting it?

  • By allowing all the thoughts and feelings to be there. Don't push them away, give them the room to do whatever they want to do. Don't analyse the intrusive thoughts. Let them scare you. You have anxious thoughts because you have anxiety. All the time this is going on, your mind and body are recovering because by letting it all play out and be there without challenging any of it, you are telling your brain that there is no threat. Unfortunately, it does take time for the brain to get the message and to stop pumping your body full of adrenaline and longer for the physical symptoms to melt away. The best way to describe acceptance (giving up the fight) is being comfortable about feeling uncomfortable. It isn't a technique, it is a change in attitude. You have anxiety because the nerves that control your mood and fight/flight response have been stretched to their operating limit through constant worry and compounded by your search to fix the problem and make it all go away. The thing is, there is nothing to fix, no battle to fight so stop fighting and don't try to stop the anxiety being there. If you feel a panic attack coming, let it come, don't try and stop it. It's crappy but harmless. That is acceptance.

  • I did the anxiety workbook , it helped me greatly ,you can get it at Barns & Noble. I also seen a therapist she told me something that nobody has ever told me before , and it was as simple as , "You can not die from anxiety. " she explained that if your dieing your heart will slow down not speed up . So that helped me to control my panic . To know that i was not dieing when anxiety hit I began to be able to breath threw it and let it pass. I suggest you get the book it explains what anxiety is and why it happens and all kind of things .. Hang in there .

  • The issue I have with this, is my heart rate doesn't increase with anxiety.. Im always concerned that it's going too low. I have all symptoms of panic attacks except the chest pain/heart rate increase. I do have occasional palpitations during an attack. But yes, I try to tell myself that I will not die, and this will pass, as it always does.

  • I agree and I also think that you have to make some changes in your life to see the changes that you want. There is a type of therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Acceptance of yourself and where you're at now is one part of it; the other is committing to better yourself and the decisions you make in your life.

  • For me, I haven't made any changes in my life other than to change my attitude towards the anxiety. I knew deep down that it was all a trick but it took me a while to see through it all which started to happen when I gave up the fight. I saw glimpses of my old self which reinforced by belief that it was all a bluff. Had I acted upon my anxious thoughts, I would have left my family and given up my job because that is what my anxious thoughts were screaming at me to do. I just let them scream and carried on. I accepted it all and Floated past it all, to paraphrase Dr Claire Weekes. I'm still happily married and still have my job but slower to judge people because they may be suffering in silence. 😍

  • Accepting that anxiety was there and validating all those emotions that came along with it was very hard for me. It took me months and months to be ok with where I was at, and at that point, I felt so weak and tired all the time and didn't want to do a thing. So I went back to the gym, started eating 3 times a day, slept better, developed my interests, began socializing with folks at my school, got a different job, started keeping a gratitude journal, traveled more...I made all these changes to my life that I feel so much happier and more confident in my ability to deal with anxiety or depression.

  • I really try to accept but my symptoms are nausea and gagging which really upsets me especially when out

    I've got all if these books Paus especially is great but I just seem to panic with the feelings they are so real.

  • Don't try to accept because that implies you are forcing yourself to do it. An action, if you like, which isn't the right way. It is inaction that eventually brings relief. Doing nothing, not reacting. Just think to yourself "oh well, it is just anxiety making me feel this way and move on with your life. What if I gag? So what! What if I feel sick? So what? What if I can't sleep? So what? It is the worry (the what ifs) and stress you put yourself under that it might happen which keeps the anxiety alive and kicking. Let it happen, call it's bluff. It is the change in attitude (to so what!) towards your fears which brings recovery. All sufferers have their different fears which are very upsetting but the way to recovery is the same because the root cause of anxiety (in all of its various guises) is the same. Fear. Stop feeding your fears and you will set yourself free. But to do this you have to feel it all and just carry on with your day. I know only too well how difficult this can be but you have to remember that you are so much bigger than your anxiety and probably glimpsed this in moments of calmness or clarity. It is hard but the more you practice the "so what?" attitude the easier it will become because you are slowly telling your brain that gagging or sickness isn't a threat so your fight/flight response calms down and doesn't trigger over the smallest of things. Before anxiety came along, I never used to have fears over my health, my marriage, my social interaction, my job but anxiety made me think that I did. I felt hopeless, had no enthusiasm for anything, even the things I used to enjoy doing. I feared going to work, coming home, going out. Heck, I even got anxious over the word "anxiety." How daft is that? Deep down, I knew it was all bullshit so I just carried on, not doing anything about all the scary thoughts and feelings and let all the crap be there without resisting any of it. Slowly, but surely, things started to slowly improve. Recovery Is inevitable if you just let go of your fears. They aren't real.

  • Thank you so much I know I should go on with my day carrying the anxiety but when the gagging feeling happens I should just let it but I get embarrassed by it

  • Awesome! Thanks for this. I really do agree. "What you resist persists".

    Allowing things to just be and dealing with things as they come has helped me a lot.

    Doesn't mean you shouldn't still seek therapy or help when you need it. But just allowing for your body to naturally heal and regenerate on its own and trusting the process.. easier said than done.

  • I keep re reading your comment so very true

    Thanks again its giving me hope

  • Great! I've posted quite a bit over the last few days but the underlying message is the same. Give up caring about the symptoms and it gives your mind and body the chance to heal itself. Also, if you feel the need reassurance (it happens) there is a great website called anxiety no more. It has a forum for sufferers and contains posts with lots of useful information about recovery from those who have moved away from the dark side, to coin a phrase. If you decide to look it up, read the posts from Nolan. They helped me tremendously. I even learnt an awful lot about symptoms from those who kept complaining about them because they hadn't quite grasped the concept of acceptance. The site was created by Paul David who recovered from anxiety after suffering for many years following the same recovery process that I am now trying to instil in my messages. He met a therapist who understood anxiety and told him that he wouldn't get better until he stopped trying to get better. I'll never forget that quote. Unlike other websites, he refuses adverts etc and isn't in it for the money. He's only interested in helping people and only charges for two books he has published, both of which include success stories and the way to recovery. I bought the first (At last a life) but didn't need the second because I knew by then what it took to recover. The way to recovery is so ingrained, if I ever slipped back, I have all the tools to recover. Not banking on that happening but not bothered if it does.

  • I have both of Paul's books and Claire weeks excellent books but I still struggle

    This morning I got up at 6.30 walked for an hour came home had breakfast now plan o do housework which haven't been done from a while

    But I'm sat here feeling sick knowing that I have o go out later

    Sorry to moan but I really get quite tearful about being so negative

  • Hi, I just read your post. Although it was 22 days ago, I am curious if things improved for you, because your situation sounds similar to mine. Mornings are hell for me. Today I got up at 6 and went to the gym. Forced myself to do it, was SO hard. And I did not enjoy the workout like I kinda used to. So it didn't seem to help and just made me more tired and I am still dreading the day and weekend (work is so hard to be at cause I cant concentrate and I don't like my job all that much, but home is not really any better cause I am afraid that my sadness and lack of motivation affects my wife and daughter).

  • Hi Mike. Apologies for not replying sooner and hope you have made progress...but don't worry if you haven't.

    Yeah, it does sound as though some of the symptoms you have are similar to those I had. Mornings were bad for me too. That's just how it goes for some people. Probably due to being at a low ebb first thing, even for non-sufferers but when your nerves are sensitised, waking from sleep can come as quite a shock. Don't waste time and energy figuring out why. This just adds fuel to the fire.

    I think we must have the same job too as mine isn't overly exciting but slightly better than watching paint dry. I found it very hard to concentrate because I felt super stressed all day. Didn't feel like that before I had anxiety so took the attitude that it was the anxiety making life difficult and not my job or family life. I learned to accept that this was how things were going to be for a while and just carried on, accepting whatever thoughts and feelings cropped up. If I feared going to work, I went any way. I just did the opposite to what the anxiety was making me think and feel (all negative stuff, nothing positive).

    If anxiety can put you off doing something you used to enjoy like going to the gym, imagine the "fun" it is going to going to have with your mind and body when you do something that you don't enjoy so much, such as work. Anxiety just magnifies all the emotions with liberal helpings of fear and negativity.

    Just keep doing what you are doing and living a normal life, accepting all the anxiety symptoms and taking them with you to work and the gym. Doing normal stuff eventually brings back feelings of normality. Don't shrink away from and thoughts or feelings. Feel the fear and do it anyway ! Anxiety can't harm you.

  • Hi there things are up and down for me.I have just returned from a week in Spain staying with friends which I dreaded.Staying in someone else's home feeling like I do but I did it

    The mornings were tough but I survived!

    I have been reading the book Dare by Barry mcdonagh which helped I think

    Back to work today so feeling choked but I push on

    Would be nice just to feel normal but I must learn to accept the feelings

    Hope you're feeling better

  • Hi watts the web site call my anxiety symptoms are the fear that am going to die any time soon

  • Hi Maggie

    The website is called

    Although many symptoms of anxiety are common, some may be less common or unique to the sufferer but the way to recovery is the same because fear is always the root cause. Fear of the thoughts, fear of the feelings or even fear of the feelings of fear itself.

    To recover, you have to face your fears, not run away from them, accept them by allowing them to be there and being ok about it, and letting time pass because once you learn to accept, time is needed while your mind and body calm down and the anxiety dissapates.

  • Thanks a have done it 2 times think a should do it again lol just hard

  • You will get there. Just takes time, I'm afraid.

  • Yeh ano lol but am geting there just a bite scared to sleep in case a die is that anxiety to as ma doctor said it is

  • Trust your doctor. I happen to agree. It's an irrational thought to a person without anxiety, and easily dismissed but to someone with anxiety, it takes on a whole new importance, so significant, it is hard to leave alone. However, what you are doing is trying to control something that you have no control over. Just let the thoughts go. You will be fine Maggie.

  • Thaank u very mutch a have got the shakys the day and fell tired dont whant to do anything

  • Hi beevee did u have like a cougth and fell out off breath but not and shaky

  • Certainly had the shakes, legs felt wobbly like I had just had a great fright. Normal under the circumstances and grossly exaggerated by anxiety. Don't recall having coughing problems but did get out of breath occasionally. You may have a cold or something similar. Unfortunately the symptoms of illness, like flu, can feel very much like anxiety symptoms. I just learned to accept it. Strangely, when I did feel ill, it made my anxiety take a back seat!

  • Thanks a fell better now got a sore head them am like am i geting better our am i dting am fighting anxiety and a lost a baby 5 weeks ago so trying to fight both at same time

  • Very Sorry to hear that you lost your baby. Same thing happened to my sister a few years ago when she suffered an amniotic fluid embolism while in labour. Almost lost my sister too but fortunately she pulled through.

    Please don't spend energy trying to figure out which emotion is which. Anxiety magnifies all of your emotions and the best thing is to let it all out. Don't bottle it up. It needs to be released and the reason why you should not be trying to control your emotions in any way.

    Love and best wishes

    Beevee ❤️

  • Thanks just hard cause a think am going to die all the time find it hard to sleep because if it am like watt if a die in my sleep but doctors told me a can its just anxiety doing this to me a said ano a have had it 3 times but just finding it hatd this time

  • I've had anxiety for 3 years. I started to get bad pain in my back and ribs and bladder. Dr put me on cymbalta and the pain eased up. Recently a new dr took me off cymbalta and now I've been crying again and all the pain is back I'm now taking 3 mg of klonopin and 50 of pristiq. I starting walking and was feeling a little better then the anxiety came back with the pain. I'm scared of the anxiety and now I'm scared that the pain is chronic. I'm tired of crying and being scared.

  • Beevee. I can't stop being afraid of the thoughts. I have so much fear that I'll never get better. Please help. I hurt all over my ribs my back.

  • Hi Puppy

    To recover, you have to walk through the storm and let yourself think and feel everything that your anxiety conjures up. The key is to do absolutely nothing about the thoughts and anxious feelings so let them scare you. Although scary, you will come to no harm. The thoughts are the anxiety finding an outlet in order to release all that negative energy/adrenalin stored within. When I say negative, it is actually no different to positive energy you feel when feeling elated for any reason e.g. Receiving good news.

    Instead of reacting to the thoughts and feelings, learn to accept them and do nothing about them. Sounds easy but know it isn't at first but with practice, it becomes much easier. Allow yourself to be ok about not feeling ok and just put it all down to anxiety and carry on with your day. Don't try to ignore the scary thoughts, or try to push them away or try to fix things because it is all the trying that keeps the anxiety alive and kicking.

    If you haven't already done so, visit a free website called Anxiety No More. It helped me tremendously in the sense that I learned all about anxiety (along with books written by Dr Claire Weekes), how it manifests itself and that the foundation to recovery and freedom is built by applying this knowledge because it takes away a lot of the fear which is the root cause of ALL anxiety disorders, regardless of what label is given to them by the medical profession. You say you fear that you won't recover. I had this fear too and is just a symptom of anxiety so don't pay any attention to this and any other anxiety laden thoughts because they aren't real. They only hang about if you resist them in any way and won't be there when you recover. If you lose the fear through practising acceptance, allowing yourself to be comfortable about feeling uncomfortable, you will recover, without a shadow of a doubt. Think of it like having a cold. You feel crap but you know what you are dealing with and accept that you will feel bad for a while and carry on with your day. Nature takes its course and you gradually start to feel better without having to do very much. recovery from anxiety works in exactly the same way in that you have to let Mother Nature work her magic. Anxiety is caused by your nervous system being overloaded by stress or a series of stresses and have become sick. They have become sensitised and the reason why you are now filled with fear now have fear. Practising acceptance means you are giving up the fight which allows your mind and body the space it needs to recover. At the moment, you are not giving it the space and time to do this.

    Happy to help with any other questions but worth you looking up my previous posts which might help.

  • Thanks Beevee I just can't stop being afraid of the fear. How do you accept being afraid?

  • The title Is amazing! And it is my main problem!! 😧😳

  • Beevee. I I can't stop being afraid of the anxiety as soon as I feel it I start crying and being afraid. I'm so scared

  • Hi Puppy

    I know it is difficult but the trick is to be ok about being afraid. Don't do anything about it. Don't try to stop it coming. Let yourself be scared. The fear feels very real but it is just anxiety playing tricks on your mind and completely harmless. You have all this negative energy stored up which needs to be released and manifests itself with scary thoughts and feelings so learn step out of the way of yourself and let it flow unhindered by learning not to react to the fear by adding more fear e.g. "What if I never get getter, what if I feint etc etc" It is all the "what's ifs" you are adding which keeps you stuck. Let all the scary thoughts and feelings comes down just observe them and don't give them any respect. Shrug your shoulders and carry on with your day despite how you feel. Accept that it is just anxiety magnifying all your emotions tenfold and then some! Acceptance is tough at first but with practice and a little patience, the symptoms will start to ease off, which makes acceptance easier. Recovery happens in thin layers and if like me, you may not even notice improvements at first because it is a gradual process.

  • Love your post and it's very true,I swore by Claire weekes,I'm recovered too and did exactly what you have said and it worked,I suffered bad with anxiety but seen the light now x

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