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.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Tanja says

    Hi, I have been suffering from panic and severe anxiety for one year now. I tried everything, even ssri but I had to stop them due to bad side effects. What a strugle it is, every day is chalenge. I have wonderfull husbend and amazing three children and anxiety is ruining my life. Recently I bougt the book Hope and help for your nerves. It is great and I am trying to follow advices but it is very hard sometimes. Few times I did it but I guess it takes a lot of time and practice. Did any of you managed to do it without medication, just by following advice? Please can you give me some tips, I am desperate
    Thank you

  2. Jim says

    Mary,

    It’s been almost 25 years since my last “relapse” and I have no fear of it coming back and you won’t either. Going through this I wondered of what value this thing was in my life until my wife and I found out that my son, who has asperger’s, has anxiety issues. Now I thank God that I had Panic Disorder come into my life so I could help him.

    Take heart as once you are on the path to normalcy, there is no going back! You are taking “intellectual” control over your primordial brain and retraining it not to fear these “attacks” as if they were real threats. No matter how you much you indulge your fear by “what ifing” your recovery, you are training your brain not to fear what cannot hurt you.

    You may think on them from time to time, but your body will not be sensitized to them and will not start the “fight or flight” response. As your body continues to stand down as your nervous system’s activity continues to subside, that sense of “unconnectedness” with your environment will leave and you will fell good again. Any ancilliary side effects (feeling out of control, OCD, and etc.) will dissolve as your body reaches normalcy and is no longer guarding against perceived threats. You put your body on high alert, it responded magnificently (it really did). You are marching back to normalcy and nothing will derail you as you cannot fear what cannot hurt you. It’s that simple.

    One last comment; having gone through this experience, nothing will touch you in this way again. My life has been fantastic since and yours will too!

  3. Damian says

    One thing that Dr. Weekes talks about that really is so so important that is your attitude to fear. Fear plays such a massive role in this condition. You are reacting to thoughts, sensations and bodily symptons with fear. Why? Through habit. Anxiety is such a maze that is so easy to become lost in. I should know, ive been there and lived with the hell of it as so many have.

    When you believe (not just think, but truly *believe*) you do not need to fear these strange thoughts, feelings and sensations you’ll reach a turning point. I read her books, CDs etc many many times as well as lots of other material. I would never be so certain as to assume “it” will never return but i know and believe there is no longer anything to be afraid of. This is achieved through practicing, learning and understanding. Really facing all of it head on and running in fear from nothing. You need to en grain her teaching into yourself so it becomes second nature. This has helped me enormously and i believe it can help anyone prepared to do the same. Its not easy at all but its so often the case in life that the things really worth doing take a considerable effort!

  4. Mary says

    Thanks so much Jim and Damian! Your kind words really help me right now.

    The thing that is most frustrating for me, is not being able to not be afraid. In my mind I know that’s the key, but my nerves are so sensitized that I can’t avoid feeling fear. However, like you said, it takes practice and I know that I’m exercising my brain as I would another muscle, to learn to cope with sensitized nerves the next time.

    I have a question though, what do you do in times of high stress or worry, or how do you react to that, now that you are “cured”? Thanks again :)

  5. Jim says

    Mary,

    When I was going through a relapse a few years after my first episode, I used the relaxation techniques mentioned in “The Relaxation Response”. The general thrust of this techniques, if I remember correctly, was to methodically tense and relax the muscle groups in your body, one group at a time, moving from toe to head.

    This technique worked great for me whenever I felt a panic “attack” welling up. Over time, I stopped feeling the needing to use this technique, though I highly recommend it.

    Good Luck!

    The Relaxation Response (Google eBook)
    Herbert Benson, Miriam Z. Klipper

  6. Tanja says

    Hi I am starting to loose hope. I fear there is no way out for me from this hell of anxiety. I try to float and sometimes I manage to do it but it comes back all the time to ruin my life. My mornings are the worse, it is so strong and scary. I feel so guilty I have this because of my beautiful familly. I don’t know what to do

  7. Jim says

    Tanja,

    Relax and ease your mind. Let the endless stream of foolish “fear based” thoughts cascade and laugh at them. Allow yourself to “what if” every situation to no end and then relax again. Nothing you fear is going to hurt you, just like the kids harsh words in school, but they will sting if you allow them to. But that’s ok because they cannot hurt you!

    Scary can’t hurt you nor can these panic episodes. Don’t feel guilty as you have nothing guilty about. You body needs some time to stand down from the alert you put it on and you have to embrace the panic episodes lie an old friend, as hard as that may sound. You don’t need to do anything to be cured except to not fear what cannot hurt you. Much the same way as we develop irrational fears over spiders as kids, you have developed an irrational fear of these episodes, as we all did, and now you have to undo that just as you should no longer run screaming from the room when you see an insect that may be on the order of 1,000 times smaller than you and perhaps 1,000,000 times lighter!

    Once you cure yourself, and it is you who in the end will cure you, nothing will touch you again as I have mentioned previsously. You will smell the roses so much you’ll pull them off the vine~!

    If your children were being bullied you might tell them to stand up to the bully and call his/her bluff. I would ask you to do the same. Do this by doing nothing! Get in your cozy chair and try to create a panic episode! Have I lost my mind? Not in the least. Eventually your mind will retrain your brain to not fear what Cannot hurt you.

    Celebrate this affliction Tanja (though it’s scary!), as unlike most every other malady that can afflict you, this one will leave no trace but your wonderful family and your sweet life when you finally stand down.

    Not only can you do this, but you will do this by doing nothing but floating on through, light as a feather . . .

  8. Tanja says

    Jim thank you so much, your letter made me cry. I read it over and over again. I will do exactly what you said, and whenever I feel discouraged I will read it again. I will do it for myself and my wonderful familly…God bless you

  9. Mary says

    Jim, thanks for recommending The Relaxation Response,I read it and it is basically a form of meditation.

    After reading the book I tried it for the first time and it actually worked! However, the author recommends practicing “the relaxation response” twice a day for 15 min., and I haven’t had the time to do it that often yet, but I’m definitely trying it and I’ll let you all know the results later on.

    Thanks again!

  10. annalise says

    Hi,
    I suffer from severe anxiety every morning and have done for many years it has gotten worse since my mum dropped dead in front of me from a heart attack one year ago at the age of 63. Every morning i wake up fearing today is the day im going to die as they are so intense im not sure if im having a heart attack or if its just panic.
    I am so ready to end this all bc i feel like im living in hell
    PLEASE someone help me, I cant do this anymore

    Thank you for listening, i hope someone can help

  11. Jim says

    Annalise,

    The cure to this is to simply stop fearing these episodes. They are not attacks as nothing is being harmed! To get past these episodes doesn’t take any energy at all. A lot of Courage, but no energy; Just acceptance. Wake up tomorrow with the realization that this is the day that you will take control of your life and bring your body back to its normal, balanced state. When these episodes come, don’t fight them! Egg them on! You can do this by floating through these episodes and allowing them to run their course. This is what Claire Weekes was teaching (though it’s been 20 years since I read the books- Yes you will be 20 years past this someday). (As an aside, please reach out to a professional if you need some support. The extra support may make a world of difference.)

    There’s nothing at work here, except our own survivial instincts listening a little too closely to our minds. It’s only your body after all. You’ve put your body on alert and it’s performing admirably. Well it’s time to stand down because there is no threat to you. You’ve just got to re-train your emotive brain by not FEARING an anxiety episode. Allow this thing to come. It won’t harm you. It can’t harm you. It’s a bunch of chemicals interacting in your brain. Not quite a Tiger is it? Your fear of the episode is allowing you to persist in this state.

    Time to let go of this thing and face it head on. You can do this, Annalise, as there are many of us watching you and waiting to support you! Millions of us have this. Millions of us have been cured. Millions of us lead a blessed life having passed through this crucible, as you will too. We are here to cheer you on and keep the faith! You can and will do this~!

    Jim

    PS-If you want to try a technique that can help you lessen the feeling of an episode once onsetted, you can try “The Relaxation Response”, mentioned in some comments above.

  12. Jane says

    Jim,
    Your comments are an inspiration and encouragement to those of us still working through this and occasionally getting tricked by “setbacks”. Thanks so much for sharing!!
    Jane

  13. Alice says

    Hi there, I have suffered with GAD for nearly a year and a half now after spending 18 months as a Paramedic. Its possible I am suffering from PTSD, although not sure if this is possible as I don’t have flashbacks and have never had a panic attack, just feeling like I might… constantly. I thought I was coming right as I got rid of all the stress in my life (including my job), but have realised I still havent found a way of dealing with the anxiety effectively as it rears its head whenever I’m even slightly stressed now. I was just wondering if Claire Weekes methods is really geared towards GAD or really only if you suffer from the panic attacks themselves. I have read one of her books and am trying to “accept” the anxiety although its hard when its a constant feeling and not an attack that is normally resolved anyway.. any thoughts? :)

  14. Tom says

    Jim I have been reading the comments you have made and you know you are a walking saint I am at this moment in time going through a rough time with a stupid phobia that has robbed me of my life for ten years and I have started to read Dr Claire weeks book but I have some difficulty in floating past the horrible thoughts that come in to my head so could you exlpain to me how to float and come out the other side and be able to feel in control again

    Regards Tom

  15. annalise says

    Please can someone help,
    I have been suffering anxiety disorder since i was a teenager, but it has been getting worse.
    I did not receive love as a child and was given up at 10 after sexual and emotional and physical abuse from my sep father and mother.
    My mother died last year, she dropped dead in front of me from a massive heart attack and i never got to put closure with her.
    I feel so faulty and feel I have to prove to everyone I am worthy of love.
    I feel so alone in this world and that is where a lot of my anxiety comes from.
    Every single morning I open my eyes my heart starts to raise and i sweat, panic, throw up etc and I cant seem to find the strength to stop my thoughts of dread.
    Im scared I am going to have a heart attack because of the panic attacks.
    I cry a lot of keep thinking of suicide everyday as I cant see myself living with this horrible disorder for the rest of my life.
    Please someone help me

    Annalise, Australia

  16. annalise says

    Jim,

    sorry i did not see your reply to my previous comment until just now, i just read it.
    I am now crying so bad bc i try so so hard to say to myself every day I have been through this before and im still ok, but it takes so much energy everyday. I am so tired.
    I really want to live a normal life as i have so much to offer this world, but the anxiety debilitates me and controls me.
    Are you saying I should welcome these feelings and thoughts with acceptance every morning ? Make friends with my panic ?

    I value your help so much
    Annalise, Australia

  17. Jim says

    Annalise,

    You are very worthy of love and you are no more faulty than any one of us, your brothers and sisters who have been brought together because of a shared affliction. I thank Paul for providing us all the opportunity to connect with one another. I am not a health professional, which I urge you to seek, but I can say with clear conviction; you are worthy of love! Let yourself believe that. If we, who are reading this, were all with you, we would pick you up in the morning and tuck you in at night. I may be a world away from you but I care about you, as does everyone reading this. Hold on! Whatever anyone else has done to you, does not make you any less the beautiful person that God and Nature have intended you to be. As you are too painfully aware, we can’t control what has or will happen to us, but we can completely control how we choose to react to what happens to us and that is all the control in the world. We are in complete control of our lives if we have this understanding.

    Annalise, rest and relax . . . The cure to debilitating anxiety disorders is passivity, not activity. You need do nothing nor go anywhere. I asked you to become friends with the panic episodes so that we can train your body not to fear them. Now I need you to have the courage to allow yourself to float through these episodes. Read Dr. Weekes books if you can. She is my salvation! This is her counsel. What’s more, you don’t need to deal with any underlying issues to cure yourself of your anxiety. I believe anxiety disorder arise when our buckets get filled with too much stress. Regardless of the cause, we have to let our buckets drain down.

    Don’t give up Annalise. We need you here among us, helping each other move on to a better life!

  18. Jim says

    Tom,

    Thank you for your kind words. I am blessed to be able to offer a few words of encouragement. I found that when the adrenaline started to flow, my thoughts would turn to an endless stream of “what ifs”. It was as if my cognitive mind, was attempting to rationalize my feelings of fear. My cognitive mind, appeared to be trying to plumb the depths of these anxious thoughts and feelings. I would think the most ridiculous of thoughts and then worry about them. “What if I tell this guy he’s overweight?”, “What if I blurt something out in a movie theater”, “What if I really don’t care about the people who love me?”.

    When you are in this state, there seems to be no end to the hurtful thoughts you can think. What I realized was that these thoughts were never followed by any action. I never blurted anything out, didn’t tell anyone they were overweight, nor did I steer off a bridge because I was worried I would do so. Fact of the matter is, is that I will only do one of these things when I choose to act. No fear thought will cause me to do something I have no intention of doing, no matter how scary it appears.

    I also noticed that I never felt “real”, as silly as that sounds. I felt like I was always disassociated. I never felt like my old self. I even had horrible thoughts and images, that were so completely foreign to me that they scared the heck out of me.

    In retrospect,it all makes sense to me. My body had all these powerful chemicals coursing through me in the attempt to protect itself, wouldn’t it be logical that my thinking might have been a little clouded. I had used the metaphor before of ramming 220V into your laptop and not seeing a little smoke coming out of the machine. The horrible thoughts you are thinking are just that; thoughts. If they had any value to you you wouldn’t think they are horrible. You’d think of them as wonderfully devious! You’ll never act on a one of them. Keep trying to float through these episodes and as you finally stand down Tom, you will become better than your old self and twice as happy.

    Thanks,

    Jim

  19. Alice says

    Hi Jim, you have probably said in earlier posts but I am new to anxiety guru and just wondering what methods, treatment, etc you used to get over your anxiety? And how long did it take you.

  20. Jim says

    Alice,

    It took some time for me to finally stand down, once I “retrained” myself not to fear the anxiety episodes. With regard to GAD and whether the same techniques work, I’m not sure but I agree with you that the same mechanisms in GAD, are at work and probably fully manifested in Panic Disorder. I believe that the perceived impending sense of doom felt in GAD, finds its realization. So yes, I do believe what works for Panic Disorder will work for GAD as they must surely be related.

    To use a metaphor, GAD may be likened to building one’s castle in preparation where Panic Disorder is the full on attack. Only problem is there is no attack and there is no enemy. Your body is working perfectly. You were under a chronic load of stress that over-filled your cup and has manifested in anxiety. Your body believes that there is a threat in the land, and it therefore needs to start building the castle. See the article above where the author states that “She (Dr. Weekes) 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.” This is the state of GAD, I believe.

    Your body, at this point, is like John Belushi in Animal House, jumping around in a 360, awaiting the threat. You’ve been telling your body that there’s a threat out there. You sense an “air of doom”. Alice, look at your (we are all alike here on this point) language on the subject. You mention attacks and something “rearing its head”. Our brains are listening to our minds. We’ve got to stop the negative language. There is no attack, just a whole bunch of chemical reactions, and there is no doom, just you being sensitized to fear the anxiety your experiencing.

    Great to hear that you removed the source of stress, but that won’t necessarily stop the anxiety train, nor do you need to remove all stress, though helpful no doubt, to stop the anxiety train. Stop the fear (no doom) and you stop the train. Stop the train, through no fear, brain reprograms, train disappears. Train may come back once or twice. Stop the train twice. Your golden forever, because you wont go back and fear what you are not afraid of.

    Lastly, I would recommend reading the rest of Dr. Weekes books, as they have stood the test of time, and keep reinforcing the cure that works.

    Good luck and relax through all of this as best you can

  21. Alice says

    Jim,
    I really appreciate your advice and the time you take to reply. No one seems to understand what I’m going through. Ironically as an ambo I talked a number of people down from having a panic attack, even though I couldn’t really relate to it at the time I understood what they were feeling was very real to them. At the time I thought this sort of thing would never happen to me!? In hindsight I have had anxiety on and off my whole life but never took much notice of it and therefore didn’t get stuck in the vicious worry loop that seems to be whats fueling it. In the last few months I thought I was going okay and getting over it so to speak but really I was still sh*t scared of it and only trying to distract myself as a means of cure. Obviously distraction only works for so long. I really can’t believe its taken me over a year to come across what Claire Weekes knew about years ago. Her method does make complete and utter sense. I just find it very difficult to replace my negative worrying with acceptance, I suppose it is a matter of time and perservering. I have her other books ordered already :) Thanks again Jim

  22. Damian says

    Hi Alice,

    I’m sure so many people could say the same thing – we never thought it would happen to us. Of course now we know its something that can happen to anyone.

    You will get to s stage where you can look back on this with a very different feeling. Without fear raising its head at the slightest thought or sensation.

    For me the major thing was really realizing that everything, all of it is based around fear. Fear of panic, fear of scary bizzare thoughts etc etc, all those what ifs. As Dr. Weekes sais it is a “habit of fear” and this really is so true. Understanding it thoroughly is the first step. BELIEVING and accepting it is the second and this takes time. You may have to go through several of these episodes to really truly face the worst of it, and when you are able to do this *without fear* the battle will be won.

    It can seem hopeless and it can seem like an impossible task but trust me, everything Dr. Weekes outlines works. Her teaching changed my life so much for the better and her work in my view is essential reading for anyone in a position suffering with anxiety issues.

    By the way her CD and DVD are also really worth getting – the CD especially. This really can help with understanding some of the points she is trying to make.

    All the very best.

  23. Alice says

    thanks Damian, I really appreciate the advice. Its like a light in a dark tunnel hearing the advice of sufferers that have conquered this thing. I don’t expect to live a life anxiety free but at least not let it rule my life anymore. I hope to help people in the same way one day.

  24. annalise says

    Im having a panic attack and im so tired and frightened. I dont think I cant keep going much longer. I feel like my heart is going to stop.
    i just want to die, its all too much
    please can you pray for me please

  25. Jim's Wife says

    Allalise….I’m praying for YOU!!!
    Let the PEACE of Christ RULE in your Heart!
    God Bless your Journey!

  26. Jim says

    Annalise,

    As my wife does, I also have you in my prayers. How are you? I know you are in pain and I hear that you are tired. That may be where you need to be to start to get better.

    Please let us know how you are doing,

    Thanks,

    Jim

  27. annalise says

    hi Jim,

    You and your wife are absolutely lovely.
    Thank you for your prayers, i can’t say thank you enough.
    Yesterday was extremely hard, but i kept saying what your wife said… let the peace of christ rule your heart, my anxiety was so bad, i just didn’t want to live another second of this life, but i kept thinking i love God so much I will suffer whatever i have to instead of giving in so eventually i will be at peace when I go home to him.
    Today has been better, but its still hovering, its always just there.
    I keep reminding myself to just let it go, dont fear it. Then when I dont have it I start to panic as I fear its going to rear its ugly head again.
    Sometimes when I dont have it I feel lonely without it bc i have had it for so long.
    Its such an ugly thing, and im hoping with your support and kind words of encouragement and prayers I will get through this.

    Much love to you both,
    Annalise Kleine, Australia

  28. Alice says

    Hi Annalise,
    whereabouts in Australia are you? I am on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. If you haven’t already, I strongly urge you to read Dr Weekes book(s). I have only just started, within the last couple of weeks to put into practice her method and already feel different somehow. (for the better). Most of my problem was the same as what your describing, I was anxious about feeling anxious. It has honestly ruled my life for so many months now that I think if its not there, there must be something wrong! Although I am no expert by any means, from what Jim and Damian have said.. even the language you are using to describe it needs to stop.. hard as it may be.. it needs to become almost welcomed by you, because I have found in just a short amount of time that once you start to accept it and not fear it, you actually stop worrying about it and therefore anticipating it! I know I still have a long road ahead but I am excited about the small amount of peace I have found this week and know that it can only get better. :)

  29. annalise says

    Hi Alice,

    I feel im not so alone now in this struggle for peace.
    I will definately read her book.
    Today has been better because I have tried to accept the feelings and not fear them, but it is still extremely draining and takes up so much energy.
    I am located in Camberwell, Melbourne darls

    Annalise

  30. Alice says

    I used to live in Camberwell! I lived in Melbourne for 2 years. Yeah it is draining, but I find it more draining living in fear of it. If you want to chat any time my email address is alicemareewhittaker@gmail.com I check it regularly.

  31. Damian says

    Hi Annalise,

    I think all of us can say weve felt the same way, alone, isolated, terrified. You most certainly arent alone, and i think youd probably be amazed at the number of people suffering with things like this (even people you may know.)

    It does allot of courage and strength to face this head on, and face those fears in a relaxed and calm way. Dont be discouraged if one day you feel ok and the next like your back at square one (something that really perplexed me when i was suffering with this.) Once youve started learning about this you will never been back at square one again.

    If you have a close friend or partner you can talk too and confide in i’d really recommend this as this is something that helps more than you realise (yet so many find difficult, especially men.) Not having to hide behind a facade all the time takes away allot of stress and tension.

    From what youve written you seem very affraid of it all. Dont be. It isnt worth the time and energy. It cant hurt or harm you. Practice relaxing as best you can toward the physical feelings and sensations and recognise in your own mind the thoughts and triggers than cause the panic/anxiety to build. This takes practice and may seem frustrating but trust in the methods she teaches and in yourself.

    If i could would i change having been through the hell of anxiety and panic? I truely would not. Because now the defences are there, the road is well trodden, the monster has lost its teeth. I may start to feel a little frayed at times when very tired (especially as my work can take up allot of mental engery) but the teachings of Dr. Weekes are engrained in me i spent so much time reading and listening over months and months. When youve faced fear and panic and practiced her methods and you find they work, not just once but time and time again the confidence slowly builds and the fear melts away.

    Best Wishes,

  32. annalise says

    Thank you Damien,

    I really appreciate your words and advice. I am trying hard not to fear it.
    I have just woken up and its just there, and im trying to breathe through it and not fight it but its very hard. Because we have heart disease in the family, a lot of my fear from the feelings i get from anxiety comes from thinking i am going to have a heart attack, as most of my severe anxiety comes the minute i open my eyes in the morning, and apparently most people have heart attacks in the morning.
    I know I have a long way to go in this battle so i do value all ur support and advice during this trying time.
    Thank you dearly.

    Annalise

  33. annalise says

    I am trying to float through these episodes but i really cant cope.
    I have lost my appetite, keep dry reaching and crying.
    I could lose everything I have worked and lived for my whole life because of this stupid disorder, I dont understand why God would let anyone suffer from this disorder.
    My life is a living hell. I feel isolated and empty of any happiness and hope, just filled with fear.
    I really just want to throw myself in front of a train and end this nightmare once and for all.
    God has to forgive me as i am suffering so very bad he must understand i am not strong enough to keep going.
    I fear I will have to fight this battle for another 50 years.
    Its not a quality life.
    I beg God for strength and peace, I fear he has left me.
    I feel faulty and guilty but I dont know what I did to deserve this.

    I am scared and feel completely hopeless

  34. Mary says

    Annalise,

    I’m no expert, in fact I’ve had GAD for almost 4 years now and I’m going through a relapse, but I think professional help and possibly medication can help you a lot.

    Some people are reluctant to getting professional help and taking meds, but for me, they have been the perfect “crutches” for my recuperation.

    Like Dr. Weekes said, sometimes our bodies and nerves are so tired, so sentsitized, that understading them and trying no to fear them is not enough; sometimes we need a “crutch” like medication, to be able to come out of the darkness.

    When I was at my worst, I too felt that it would be better not to be alive, if living meant to have to be feeling that horrible every day. BUT THERE IS HOPE! There is hope for everyone, I truly believe that by learning about the condition as much as you can, and seeking as much help as you can (the right kind of help of course), you can get your life back, just like Jim and Damian and all the wonderful people who have come out of this and are now helping us.

    You mention that you don’t understand why God let this happen to you/us, but in time, you will learn to accept (I’m still getting there). I believe that hard moments in life – which are unavoidable- happen so we can value the great and happy moments in life, and make them even more special.

    Also, I feel like this happened to me so I can help other people who are going through the same thing, or people I meet in the future.

    Annalise, I’m sending you a big hug right now, DON’T GIVE UP! seek help and know you are not alone.

    ps. sorry for my grammar, english is my second language :)

  35. Jim says

    Annalise,

    We are all listening and we hear you; my wife, Alice, Damien, and a whole host of people who read these posts for support and encouragement. We made it through this hell and so can you. It doesn’t matter, literally, what got you to this state. Psychotherapy has no place here. You’ve had too much stress, your body became sensitized, you had an anxiety episode and now you fear the crap out of it. You’re not going to have a heart attack (remember my suggestion to check with a health professional to rule it out). If you do, big deal (I’m not being insensitive). I want you to release from your attachment to fear. Let it go. Practice the zen art of non-attachment.

    When I was going through this, I felt like God abandoned me, until my son got anxiety. Now I thank him daily for it. I, like Damian, embrace this issue for what is has provided me; an opportunity to help people. As I had mentioned to Tanja, that once through this, nothing will ever look the same for you. You will move into a brilliant world and will gain perspective that you could not possibly had otherwise. It’s hell to pay but worth every cent.

    You will not have to battle anything if you choose acceptance. Let this episode cascade over you. Celebrate, in your pain, that you have the courage to float through. Laugh at and curse your body for being a survival machine, because your body is performing perfectly! No monsters, no fear, no dread, no heart attacks, no mental illness; nothing except your perfect body and brain protecting itself from an overdose of stress.

    God will forgive your fears, your thoughts and will not test you beyond your measure. And if you can’t wrap around that thought because your “what if” mind won’t let you, please know this, as sure as you can eat and breathe and your body will sustain your life, so will this malady disappear from your life permanently once you accept these episodes as they come. Not run or think away from them, but embrace them though you feel they will kill you, only then will you turn the inexorable tide to your complete cure.

    You are worthy of this feeling. You are worthy of love. You are worthy of all. I am now going to ask you to get advocate for Annalise and tell her to relax through these episode. No effort. Serenity through the hell. Float as Dr. Weekes (She’s listening in heaven) taught us to. No more fighting. Annalise is worthy of your best effort to accept this effortlessly and get about the gentle road to recovery.

    Millions are cured from this. Mary, Damian, Paul and I and are a few of the millions.

    Please listen to Mary’s post as my wife is reading it to me as I write. She’s spot on.

    A big hug from both of us!

  36. annalise says

    THANK YOU MARY,

    Im so sorry you are suffering as well, I really feel for you.
    I have been on anti depressants for 6 years and the doctor has prescribed me valium as well for nights so i can sleep.
    None of it is helping.
    Since mum passed away I feel I have gotten worse as i feel even more alone now than ever before.
    Mum understood my anxiety whereas no one else does and people just say get over it !
    Believe me if i could i would.
    How do you cope when you are getting anxious and your heart is beating so fast and you feel sick and frightened ? where do you draw your strength from ? as it as that time when i have no strength at all and am just so frightened

    Annalise

  37. annalise says

    Jim,

    Your response has brought me to tears.
    Thank you so very much for your support and prayers, it is helping me. It is also giving me hope.
    Although at times I fear, when im in the midst of an attack im going to do something that cannot be reversed.
    I will keep trying with all the strength i have.
    Thank you for praying for me, please dont give up on me if it seems im recovering slowly.
    I am scared you will think I just feel sorry for myself and not trying hard enough, but trust me I am.
    It has been four months since i attempted suicide, which is good for me.
    I want to live and see the beauty in life as i used to, you need to believe me when i say this.
    Please don’t give up on me i need all the support and encouragement i can get from you all and the angels above.

    Much love to you both,
    Annalise xx

  38. Damian says

    I know this may sound like a cliche but many of us do know how you feel Annalise. Feeling like there is just no way out of this hell, hopeless, beaten down by it all.

    If what you have been prescribed is not working or having an beneficial effect tell this to your doctor. What can work for one person may not for others, however without doubt the biggest and most effective medication is understanding and learning not to fear it all.

    I want to specifically try and answer your question at the end of your last post…

    This is an approach i found really worked (and again its something Dr. Weekes talks about.) When you feel the panic building let yourself go completely slack, don’t tense yourself in dread but completely relax your body. Sit in a chair and completely relax yourself physically and let the panic flash over you. When you do this you will find that the Panic dissipates away as a hot burning feeling in your stomach and it doesn’t mount into something that seems unbearable. Remember, it is only through practice will you earn this confidence and begin to BELIEVE. Understanding isn’t enough, you have to believe it and this can only come through repeated positive action and practice (not easy i know!)

    If you have specific fears (such as you mentioned your heart) see your doctor and get him to examine it. Take positive action wherever you can. If he examines you and finds no heart problem then this will help dispel one of your fears.

    But above all try your best not to fear feeling this way. It is this fear that is keeping you this way.

    You can and will find peace as so many have from this, and never forget there are many people out there (such as on the list) more than happy to try and help and advise in any way we can.

    Best Wishes,

  39. Mary says

    Annalise,

    Like Jim recommended in previous posts, “The Relaxation Response” is a great method for relaxing. I’ve used when I feel anxious and it works.

    I also use the following breathing exercise when I’m feeling bad: Take a deep breath for 4 seconds (you have to learn to breathe with your belly and not your chest, you can google it) and then release the air for another 4 seconds. Eventhough your body will not respond right away, you are focusing your mind on something that is not fear, and relaxing, and that helps.

    There is also another thing that helps, but it’s weird and I don’t know why it helps or if it can help someone else, but when my anxiety reaches its peak, I take deep breaths and say the word YES outloud, sometimes more than once, like if I was accepting something wonderful or something good was happening to me. When I first started with anxiety and my simptoms got bad, there was a little voice inside me that said “NO”, “please go away”, and I think that would make me more tense and therefore more anxious. Now, when I say YES, I think my mind relaxes a bit, even though my body is feeling horrible sensations. I hope that makes sense.

  40. Jim says

    Annalise,

    I wouldn’t be surprised that every one of us felt like ending it all while going through this. This thing is so terrible how can you not feel sorry for yourself? I am proud of you for all of the courage you’ve shown!

    There are some great, actionable thoughts from Mary and Damian, that I would encourage you to follow.

    And if you want to take 50 years to work through this, that works just fine for me! We all be cheering at the end~

  41. mark fry says

    Some great advice going on in this forum. I myself suffered with severe anxiety back in 2003.
    Claire Weekes teachings were a massive part in helping my recovery and now 8 years later I run a successful business, have a lovely wife and and love expanding comfort zones, so consequently my breakdown was my salvation.
    It took my about three years to get completely well, and this for me is mainly due that recovery lies in set backs. Every time we go into a setback and come out of a setback we are making huge progress (dont realise it at the time). The key to recovery is not the absence of symptoms but symptoms no mattering any more and this means in and out of panic, in and out of setback, until setback doesnt matter anymore and when setback doesnt matter anymore then theres no reason to fear symptoms. With no fear of symptoms recovery is inevitable :)

  42. Marcia says

    Hello everyone.

    I really appreciate all the posts. They have helped me a lot. I wanted to thank Damian for what he said about relapsing. Yesterday, my sister and I went Downtown to see a play and I could not believe, I mean I was completely flabbergasted at how well I handled my panic and anxiety. I have been really trying to calm my mind and change my thoughts and to my total amazement it worked!!!!! I felt just wonderful and so full of hope that maybe this thing was finally going away.

    Anyway, I dropped my sister off at the marquee and I went on to park the car in a ramp which has never scared me before. Well, it was so crowded and so cramped that I started to scare myself. And the more I thought oh no thoughts of this and that happening, my body symptoms came on really strong. I saw a police officer and thought of asking him to park the car for me because I couldn’t cope and I thought oh no he’ll really think I’m a weirdo. I really had terrifying thoughts and went into a panic.

    What I felt so bad about was that I thought I was making progress. And this episode makes me question now if recovery is possible. The play was a wonderful production, but I spent the entire time angonizing over why that had to happen to me when things were going so much better. Today , I’m still dwelling on the whole episode and feeling terrible and hopeless. But maybe this is how it works. I heard someone say that anxiety goes away in layers as your mind begins to more and more understand and believe what’s happening to you.

    Annalise, I just wanted to say how much I am thinking of you and praying for you dear. Please don’t give up hope. I totally in my heart believe with complete conviction that this condition can be cured. We just can’t give up hope. There is an answer for you. I just know it.

    Another observation I wanted to make about anxiety. I know that this may sound simplistic, but it really works for me. Here goes. There have been times in my life when I feel like I’m really going to flip out. One time it was so bad, that I thought this is it. I’m going to die right here. Calapse. Go mad. Lose my mind completely. You all know the routine right?
    I thought I have got to get myself to a hospital. Then I thought, and I’m not minimizing or being flip about this, before you go to the hospital, go and vacuum the living room and the family room and then clean the bathroom. There is something about cleaning that takes my anxiety away. And sure enough about 45 minutes later I felt like my normal self again and was wondering what the heck that was all about.

    I have observed this kind of thing for some time now and leads me to draw a few conclusions about panic and anxiety. What I realized is that my mind is so overwhelmed with worry and constant thinking that it just can’t take it anymore. This is when those feelings come along. When I’m cleaning which is a completely mindless activity, my tired mind got a greatly needed break and I would feel much better. With anxiety, your mind is so imprisoned and consumed with so much thinking and worrying that it causes these symptoms. I know that may sound overly simplistic, but sometimes I wonder if this whole anxiety thing is really very simple. Not easy to overcome, but simple in how it all works. I always think to myself “No way can it be that simple. There’s just no way that something so tenacious and ruinous can be that basic of a problem. Maybe it’s my own mind that makes more of it than it really is.”

  43. annalise says

    i am sorry for letting you all down.
    please believe im a good soul, i dont want to go to hell as i love god, but i dont understand why he would want me to suffer.
    you are all beautiful, beautiful people and i thank you for all your support.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    LOVE AND LIGHT

  44. Mary says

    Annalise,

    You have to Go and talk To someone right NOW! Even if you feel like you don’t have an ounce of strenght anymore, you CAN get better you just have To speak! Keep going, I don’t personally know you but I KNOW you can do it. I wish you all the best xo

  45. Jim says

    Annalise,

    I looked up the meaning of your name and in Hebrew it means
    Grace and Favour

  46. Jim says

    We are all here and we are all listening. We are all united and you are with us. I don’t know if there is a loving God who permits this but I do know there are loving people (and professionals) who can see you through it!

  47. Jim says

    Annalise,

    Don’t hurt yourself. A loving God would never condemn a loving soul who has endured what you have. In my small world it would be quite the opposite. Regardless, we need you here with us. Instead of being near the end I say you are nearer the beginning. Please listen to Mary’s earlier post, if you feel you are going to hurt yourself. Please call someone and tell them how you are feeling.

    I feel your pain and I know your tired of this. You are so tired of this and you are so brave for enduring this. You can never let me down as I know the pain of this garbage. You are a wonderful person and I am proud of you! Yet, in your fatigue and anguish I would ask of you the courage to give up. Yes, give up. Give up battling these feelings of anxiety and surrender to them. Let your heart race and see how fast it can beat. Let the crazy, painful thoughts come and don’t try to stop them. Know that they are thoughts born of a tired fearful mind and are no more relevant than the silly monsters that hid under your bed. They are kindred spirits and need the same dose of courage to evict them permanently.

    Your time is now if you choose it. You, Annalise, are full of Grace and Favor. You have us all looking after you, because you are fully worthy of all of our love. None of us will leave your side. In the final analysis, I do believe a loving God inhabits our world, and I believe we’d see the tracings of his tears on your cheeks. I don’t believe he’d abandon you in your pain. He’s given you opportunities to be courageous, even though it’s so hard. But you can do this. We are all here to help. Remember that we are every bit a part of you as you are of us, and we are all connected, indeed.

    God Bless,

    Jim

  48. Jim's wife says

    Hi Annalise!! It’s Jim’s wife here again!
    I am thinking of you and praying for you!!
    I heard a statement recently…If you are going through Hell…KEEP GOING!!!
    There will be another bend in the road with a light at the end of the tunnel…the light that you are carrying!!
    Take a deep Breath and surrender…Let God carry you through this storm…
    Breathe….tighten then relax…Please keep in touch Annalise…God Bless you!
    ps sometimes when I am having anxiety, I start singing…loudly…til i can’t sing anymore! It has almost made me laugh…I know is sounds silly but it has given me moments of peace. sing a song that ‘speaks to you’.
    Please follow what Mary and Jim have said…I’m sending you a huge hug!!

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