Dr. Claire Weekes – Anxiety Superhero

Many of us spend days, weeks, or even years looking for a person that will point us in the right direction.

A person that will not only explain our anxiety disorder in clear terms, but also how we can cope with it without going broke.

There are so many great ways to cope with anxiety, but unfortunately many of them require a lot of moolah.

Dr. Weekes on the other hand, provides inexpensive resources that can actually make you feel better.

Now, Dr. Claire Weekes ( 1903 – 1990) is not a caped crusader. She was a medical doctor and writer from Australia that spent over 40 years helping people like me and you.

Dr. Weekes is an anxiety superhero in that she also suffered from what she called “Nervous Illness,” but never allowed it to rule her life. She designed a basic program for recovery that was focused on overcoming what she called the three main pitfalls of nervous illness (anxiety disorder).

The pitfalls are sensitization , bewilderment (confusion) and fear. For Dr. Weekes, these are the three reasons why you are the way you are, and why you stay this way.

She describes sensitization as a person’s body being in an elevated state of sensitivity so that almost anything can trigger the sympathetic nervous system, which leads to things like panic attacks.

Dr. Weekes stated that this was the reason why you are jumpy, and prone to the over production of adrenaline, which ultimately causes all the nasty physical symptoms you encounter.

The second pitfall is bewilderment. She believed that because most people don’t understand the physical basis for a panic attack, or other anxiety related symptom, they become confused and “stuck in a maze.” It’s the confusion that keeps you anxious and may even worsen the condition, since it tends to rob you of hope and direction.

The last pitfall is fear. Dr. Weekes argues that after a while you’re simply afraid of your constant state of fear. This also contributes to more sensitization and confusion.

Dr. Weekes also thought of chronic anxiety as a cycle, a set pattern. A pattern that could be figured out and defeated.

Best of all, recovery from chronic anxiety according to Dr. Weekes is not rocket science. Her method of recovery is this: accept, float, and let time pass. She states over and over that if you do this you can get better.

Dr. Weekes wrote five books in total and also made several radio and T.V. appearances. Of all her works however there are two that I have relied on for peace and comfort when things got tough.

1. Hope and Help for Your Nerves . This relatively short book is her first, and it’s packed with useful information and self help tips on how to cope with your anxiety. I read this book on a regular basis to help me understand things more clearly. It is broken up into short chapters, which really makes it a great reference. She also talks about many of her patients and how anxiety manifested itself in them, and how they figured out creative ways to cope.

2. My all time favorite however is her audio CD called Pass Through Panic: Freeing Yourself from Anxiety and Fear . This CD is a an absolute life safer. To hear Dr. Weekes’s voice in times of need was really indispensable. She has a way of “cracking the whip” on you and making you realize that you are, in fact, not crazy. And, that this anxiety disorder of yours will not kill you. It comes in both CD and cassette.

I wanted to introduce Dr. Weekes to you because I had gone over five years with anxiety disorder without ever hearing her name. She is really is a giant in this field, and her contributions to helping people that suffer from anxiety disorder really can’t be overstated.

She explains things very simply and clearly, and gives you the sense that she really understands not only anxiety disorder, or “Nervous Illness,” but your personal struggle with it. I used to keep her audio CD in my car and the book in my home.

I have gained a tremendous amount of support and hope from Dr. Weekes. Much of what I believe to be effective coping strategies I adopted from her work .

Although I still incorporate other methods into my personal coping strategy, Dr. Weekes’s views and opinions still guide much of what I do and think with respect to my anxiety disorder. I strongly recommend that you look up her work and see if she can’t help you as well.




  1. keith says

    Hi all I knew Dr Weekes after i wrote to her and she kinkly furnished her sydney number in the late eighties. Im now 53 suffering on and off since mid twenties. The last two years have been hell in regard to work bullying and unfair and now unfounded reasons for suspension. Im ashamed to admit I needed a short admission to hospital over xmas . My main current fear (more terror) is that for about a day prior to admission , i experienced very real delusional feelings that media/press were outside my parents home were I had been staying for support. I had hardly slept for some weeks using Zopiclone. I have a background in mental health work and they say a little knowledge is a bad thing. I have a sort of feeling of shame about the delusional experience and a sense that im beyong help in terms of self help and applying Dr Weekes method once one has experienced such an episode albeit very short. I was admitted on the Sunday and by monday evening after considerable sleep was fully orientated to to reality. I remember ringing my parents and saying …so there were no press outside when i was on the way to hospital. Even typing this drags up memmory . I think i was understandably traumatised. I wonder how Dr Weekes would have responded to my experience as ive descrlibed. I must state it was not the feeling of unreality she talks about , but a short period of being delusional experience. Again im feeling ashamed even describing it. I was in hospital for four weeks and am totally orientated with no further experience of that descrbied above and have been feeling better on an SSRI venlafaxine , sleeping better also.Still not back at work however.

  2. keith says

    Thank you for printing my thoughts from yesterday. Apologies for the spelling mistakes. Seeing my feeling in words actually makes them feel less abstract, and more human in a way.I do tend to over analyse and watch symptoms too closeley i know. Another thing i need to share is that i felt really well on discharge from hospital. Never having been admitted to hospital with nerves was a great shock initially. If honest i did feel remarkably well on discharge, My mood was lighter and energy levels better. Then ive hit a setback , still not working due to unresolved grievance procedures around bullying at work , i hit a setback and could harldy get through the door for a week or so. I feel ive lost so much confidnece not being in work as a social work family support worker since july. Ive pulle around somewhat and have been able to stay at my own house during the day and overnight on a few occasions. Id been staying with my elderly parents on discharge from hospital. Im not as sensitised, although i remember Dr Weekes saying a sensitised body can feel deceptiveley calm when not under stress. One is so suggestible with this illness. Good to know that other sufferers may be reading my experience and would value any feedback. Best wishes Keith

  3. Michael says

    “Pass Through Panic” is also available as an audiobook through Audible.com — you can even get your first book for free and cancel your trial membership. http://www.audible.com/pd/Self-Development/Pass-Through-Panic-Audiobook/B002V0JU2G/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl

    I often listen to it at work or while exercising. I feel like she’s talking specifically about me! I recommend listening over reading because her voice and tone is both concerned yet inspirational, comforting yet empowering. I’ve fallen in love with her!

  4. Olivia Rose Murray says

    I would be very grateful, if u could forward to me your CDs on self help for your nerves, and anxiety episodes.

    THANKYOU Olivia.


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