- Mental Health
Anxiety Disorders & Dr Claire Weekes Books
If you are suffering from an anxiety disorder such as panic disorder, you will no doubt know how difficult it can be to address and indeed recover completely from it. The longer you suffer the harder it seems to break the fear cycle. You may have tried different therapies and various medications but still you seem to be anxious. All you want is to recover completely so you can enjoy life but often feel overwhelmed and defeated. If this is you please read on because anyone can recover completely from anxiety disorders no matter how long they have suffered.
Dr Claire Weekes, an Australian was born in 1903. Her career began as a research scientist and she went on to become a general practitioner. At the age of 26 she had a two year spell of nervous problems after a misdiagnosis of TB that gave her some insight into nervous suffering. As a doctor she saw an increasing number of patients suffering from anxiety disorders and how these disorders were having a long term effect on their lives. She didn’t like the term nervous breakdown but preferred to call it nervous illness and recognised that in a nervously sensitized state it was bewilderment and fear that created disorders such as panic disorder, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder and phobias. Dr Weekes developed her own program to help her patients and went on to write about her program in the form of books and cassette tapes. She also appeared on the British television programme Pebble Mill at One in the 1970’s several times to discuss the concepts of her work and to give introductory guidance.
Dr Weekes program has a cognitive behavioural approach and simply deals with the nervously sensitized state. She tells of two fears known as the first and second fear and how sufferers begin to avoid the fear thus creating more problems. Her program is centred around four approach points, those of facing, accepting, floating and letting time pass. Each of these concepts are explained fully and simply in her books. Her program has helped many thousands of people around the world to recover from nervous illness but it’s strange in that if you asked your doctor or psychiatrist today he/she probably will not have heard of Dr Weekes and her work. Perhaps her program threatened to decrease the vast quantities of anti-anxiety pills (now SSRIs) and benzodiazepine medications that are quickly prescribed as a way of coping. Anxiety disorders are listed in the DSM-IV which is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders used by mental health professionals as an aid to diagnose. Anxiety disorders are therefore categorized as mental illness which I personally think is alarming in itself.
CBT is offered usually as a first choice of therapy for these disorders but Dr Weekes has fine-tuned and simplified CBT in such a way that a sufferer can, by reading her books and listening to her audio, apply the self-help necessary to recover.
She knew how tired the mind could become when one has suffered for a long time and all her books and audio are relayed to take this into account. She has said however that although her concept is simple it is often hard to apply but please don’t allow that to put you off. She speaks the truth, as she knows it is. She was not only a scientist but a doctor and sufferer who had also seen and treated so many cases herself. This is a powerful combination of theory and practice at work.
When you read the books you will feel like someone at last knows exactly how you are feeling and thinking. Her audio is particularly good as it gives it all a more personal feel. She has a no nonsense way of talking but that’s a good thing. Another doctor ( Dr Dupont) once told her that he was sorry to hear she had panic attacks and her reply was " Save your sympathy for someone else. I don't need it or want it".
Dr Weekes was not particularly against medication fort anxiety disorders; indeed she herself might give a nervously exhausted patient a sedative for a week or two prior to engaging that patient on her program. She just knew the mind would be a bit more receptive if it had acquired some rest first. A tired mind can exacerbate the bewilderment and misunderstanding felt by a sufferer who is in a sensitized state. I believe that Dr Weeke’s advice can be practised whilst on medication as long as one is aware that the true status of recovery would obviously be clearer once off the medication. You will at least learn some powerful mental tools along the way.
I have seen and heard of Dr Weeke’s methodology working right up to recovery time and time again. I know that there are hundreds of self-help books out there for anxiety disorders but I honestly believe you need look no further. This is it! Simple concepts, easy to understand and with lots of practice and patience you can recover. Her more widely available books are:
Hope and Help for your Nerves, Self Help for Your Nerves, Peace from Nervous Suffering, Essential Help for Your Nerves, Agoraphobia: Simple, Effective Treatment.
Her Audio CD is Pass Through Panic: Freeing Yourself from Anxiety and Fear
Dr Weekes was nominated for the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1983 and 1990. One year prior to her death in 1990 her final book The Latest Help For your Nerves was published. Her work lives on.