Petunia

The Dr. Claire Weekes Method of Recovering from a Sensitized Nervous System

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Dr Claire Weeks is well known internationally for her special understanding of the treatment of 'nervous illness'.  Her method was so highly regarded that she was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1989.

 

Weekes found that many of her patients suffered from various anxiety disorders. She was concerned by the severe long-term effect the disorders had on her patients' lives and by the failure of current psychiatric treatments.  So she developed a program of treatment based on ideas from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She noted, for example that patients did not suffer from these problems because they had flawed personalities or traumatic childhoods. Rather, the problems were caused by the patient having a habit of fear-avoidance, made worse, or caused, by a very responsive "sensitized" nervous system.

 

While her method will not cure antidepressant withdrawal syndrome, or any kind of withdrawal. Her techniques are very helpful to those of us with a nervous system which has been sensitized by withdrawal.

 

She described in her books the three main pitfalls that lead to Nervous Illness. They are sensitization, bewilderment and fear. She explained that so much nervous illness is no more than severe sensitization kept alive by bewilderment and fear. Dr. Weekes analyzed fear as two separate fears; the first fear and the second fear. She explained that first fear is the fear that comes reflexively, almost automatically. The patient usually immediately recoils from it, and as he/she does, he/she adds a second fear to the first. Second fear is the fear the patient adds to the first fear. Examples of second fear are "Oh, my goodness! Here it is again! I can't stand it!. It is the second fear that is keeping the first fear alive, keeping the sufferer sensitized, keeping them nervously ill.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claire_Weekes

 

For us, our 'first fear' is caused by our erratically functioning nervous system, due to long term adaption to a drug, and the resulting chaos when that drug has been withdrawn too fast.  There is no cure for this illness, apart from time. We recover from this over time.

 

Where the Claire Weekes method is helpful for us is in addressing the potential  'second fear'. By learning how to accept our symptoms we can avoid creating added fear and stress, which ultimately adds to our suffering and prolongs recovery.

 

There's something about her style of presentation which probably needs to be mentioned. Most of her work was done over 40 years ago and some people have a hard time dealing with her tone and attitude, which was probably customary in those days. I was put off by this when I first heard her a few years ago.

 

Its difficult not to interpret what she says as the 'pull your socks up and get on with it attitude"  Its all in that tone of voice and the language she uses. But when you really listen to what she is saying, she isn't saying that at all and I think a lot of people may miss the fundamental point of her message.

 

The way I understand her now is that when it comes to the experience of anxiety symptoms, or any unexpected, unexplained symptoms, our natural reaction is to fight them, to try and get rid of them, to struggle with them or try and escape from them, spending vast amounts of energy trying to make them go away, trying to ignore them and keep pushing on with our lives, or we become obsessed with them and spend hours on the internet, trying to find answers. So our whole existence becomes a constant war between us and our symptoms. Of course we become more and more exhausted from fighting this battle all the time and this exhaustion causes more stress which in turn makes our symptoms worse and so we get sicker.

 

Her message is acceptance of the symptoms, letting them be there and floating through what we need to do while the symptoms are allowed to be there for as long as they are. I think this works well for us in recovery from withdrawal because there are things we have to do, things which our symptoms make very difficult. By using her method, we can manage to do what we need to do, without causing further stress and exhaustion by adding 'symptom fighting' to our struggle.

 

By not fighting with our symptoms, but letting them be there, we can retain some of our energy, lower stress and start recovering. She doesn't actually say anything about forcing ourselves to carry on with life just the way we always did. In fact in the book I've got, she advises people to take a break from their lives and go and spend some time in a peaceful place being taken care of, like some kind of rest home.

 

Her books and recordings are available on Amazon and probably other places too. I have Hope and Help for Your Nerves

 

There is some free material available on youtube. Here is a short one where she talks about her illness and background

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbUFsGypJ-k

Edited by Petunia
changed video link due to removal from youtube

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At 26.14 Claire Weekes reaction to being asked if she ever suffered panic attacks and responded that she still does.  "What you call a panic attack is merely a few normal chemicals that are temporarily out of place in my brain.  It is of no significance whatsoever to me!"

 

CAUTION:  The volume goes up after his introduction.

 

Claire Weekes Self Help for Nerves

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Great post Petu.

 

Last year i read this one : Essential help for your nerves:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Help-Your-Nerves-Overcome/dp/0722540132/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1451702216&sr=1-1&keywords=essential+help+for+your+nerves

 

Perhaps she has added another to the list ...being 'Time' .

AAFT. p25-43

Thats a nuisance amazon doesnt provide the 'Look inside ' option for this book.  Was hoping to get access to those essential pages.

Well its back to the library. She expanded a bit more on the time element but essentially said;

 

T is for:.... 'letting TIME pass. There is no electric switch no overnight cure. Setbacks should be expected and accepted as part of recovery.'

 

She had a great analogy i will find it and post it.

 

Later....Perhaps that is indeed the case for 'Hope and help' was published in 1990 and Essential Help for your nerves was published in 2000.

 

Ok..its getting confusing ....there is also a 1987 one called 'More self help for your nerves' and the 2000 one appears to be  a newer edition of that same book with the inclusion of 'Peace from nervous suffering' so essentially the 2000 book is 2 books in 1 .

 

Apparently this book [2000 one] offers hope and new levels of understanding to nervous fatigue - Dr Weekes explores the common and almost inevitable patterns that can occur with nervous illness. She also looks at the commonest kind of nervous illness - the anxiety state, or nervous breakdown. This book also looks at the problems of agoraphobia. Sufferers of nervous illness often become trapped in a cycle of suffering, Dr Claire Weekes shows how they can break this cycle and take their place among people without fear.

 

later ...ok there is another one in 1995 called 'Self help for your nerves learn to relax and enjoy life again by overcoming your fear.'

With amazon saying:

This guide offers the most comprehensive insight and advice into coping with nervous stress. Sufferers of nervous illness regard Self Help for Your Nerves as their bible - many believe that if they had found it earlier they would have been saved years of unnecessary suffering. Dr Claire Weekes looks at: How the Nervous System Works What is Nervous Illness Common factors in the development of nervous illness Recurring Nervous Attacks Plus important chapters on depression, sorrow, guilt and disgrace, obsessions, sleeplessness, confidence, loneliness and agoraphobia. The book also shows the Dr Claire Weekes method, a practical programme on learning to take your place among people without fear.

 

 

The book titles are confusing but the message is the same...AAFT.

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Just had a listen to the video (her mannerisms remind me of Dame Edna ),

 

Read the wiki link too ...cant quite figure out how a person can die in 1990 yet publish a book in 2000? Thats pretty clever!

 

The books on amazon perhaps are new editions or reprints. ..cos some of these appear to date back to 1962.

 

oops apologies TIME was mentioned in the first post. (16.31 on vid) I missed it. eeeek!

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This is VERY encouraging.  I've been thinking something like this was happening for me - coping better with w/d since I accepted it.  But I didn't know how much that would really be true.  This confirms what I've been wondering.  Thanks Petu.

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On fatigue she mentions addisons disease. 27.43.

 

I wonder if resulting withdrawal fatigue symptom is a form of withdrawal induced addisons disease....a type of adrenal depletion.

She says people with adrenal depletion are so tired they can hardly lift a hand . Thats exactly how i felt at times.

We have in wdl exhausted our stress hormones.

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When I'm in a wave, my body feels about twice as heavy as normal - like it's a miracle I'm upright.  That sort of exhaustion - like sitting at the dining table is too hard, I just need to flop on the couch.

 

So good to feel understood... validating.

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Yeah thats a great discription  ' a heaviness' yeah thats it exactly.

 

I was so exhausted/heavy  i would have to lie down and when i did it was like i would fall into a deep sleep as if the whole cns would shut down i felt as if i was nailed to the bed and couldnt move unable to have the strength to get up to answer the phone..and i didnt on many occasions. I still have this but not as severe now.

 

she says the answer to that is to simply force yourself to get up and 'float' .28.17 uh! easier said than done.

I think for us we should not be forcing ourselves to do this for one thing we may not be able to but also the body may need this down time to heal and the body needs to shut down and have this rest. imo.

I would feel very guilty about the large amount of time sleeping but i think this sleeping was totally ok ..its healing time. The body needs what it needs.

So our situation is a little different i think.

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In our situation, I don't think we should be forcing ourselves to do anything. I used to do that in the early days and regret it now, I think I caused myself more problems and slowed my recovery.

 

For us, its probably more a matter of finding the right balance between giving our bodies the rest they need and moving as much as we can tolerate without making symptoms worse. If getting up off the bed or couch is too much, then some gentle couch yoga for a few minutes may be helpful.

 

I get two kinds of exhaustion, one physical and one more emotional or psychological. Both of them tend to keep me pinned to the bed. I'm learning to recognize the difference, respect the physical one and stay put, but push myself past the emotional head heaviness kind and move, because when I do, I usually end up feeling better and find I really do have some energy after all... and floating is so important.

 

I'm about to float around the park when I've finished this.

 

(her mannerisms remind me of Dame Edna ),

 

 

:) That's exactly what I said to my sister when I gave her the link.

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I agree about sleeping when we so obviously need it.  A large part of my w/d has involved finding and re-finding that balance which gets me all the sleep I need but still keeps me involved in my world.  I'm always going back and forward on it.

 

NZ - I refuse to answer the phone when I'm in a wave.  I get way too puffed, and can't think straight, and all I can think is how I need to go lie down.  Talking is hard work... :blink:

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(her mannerisms remind me of Dame Edna ),

 

 

:) That's exactly what I said to my sister when I gave her the link.

 

lol!! The likeness sure was uncanny wasnt it.

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Watched the vid post by cc.

That was a nice powerpoint display.

loved the very end when noting the reply to Dupont's "sorry to hear you have panic attacks" with 'save your sympathy for someone else'.

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Petunia, you have summed her up beautifully. I can't express how much CW has helped me. In my worst times I took to carrying her book around in my pocket. In acute withdrawal we are frantic to find something that's going to help us feel better, but all that struggling makes everything so much worse. My mantra has become "I consent." I consent to feel terrible for as long as it takes. And that takes a lot of pressure off me so that my nervous system can actually relax and begin to heal. Here is a quote from her that sums this up:

 

 

If your body trembles, let it tremble. Don't feel obliged to try to stop it. Don't try to appear normal. Don't even strive for relaxation. Simply let the thought of relaxation be in your mind, in your attitude toward your body. Loosen your attitude. In other words, don't be too concerned because you are tense and cannot relax. The very act of being prepared to accept your tenseness relaxes your mind, and relaxation of body gradually follows. You don't have to strive for relaxation. You have to wait for it. When a patient says, "I have tried so hard all day to be relaxed," surely he has had a day of striving, not of relaxation. Let your body find its own level without controlling it, directing it. Believe me, if you do this, you will not crack. You will not lose control of yourself. You will float up from the depths of despair. 

 

The relief of loosening your tense hold on yourself, of giving up the struggle and recognizing that there is no battle to fight - except of your own making - may bring a calmness you have forgotten existed within you. In your tense effort to control yourself you have been releasing more and more adrenaline and so further exciting your organs to produce the very sensations from which you have been trying to escape. 

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And a few more:

 

 

It takes time for a body to establish acceptance as a mood and for this eventually to bring peace, just as it took time for fear to become established as continuous tension and anxiety. That is why "letting time pass" is such an important part of your treatment and why I emphasize it again and again. Time is the answer. But there must be that background of true acceptance while waiting for time to pass.

 

Now, even with great success at learning how to cope with second fear, it takes time for desensitization. The nervously ill person must understand and accept that his sensitized body will flash first fear from time to time for some time to come. If you are like this, I assure you that if you do not continue to whip your sensitized body with second fear, it will heal its sensitized nerves as naturally as it would heal a broken leg. But this takes time. To face and accept one's nervous symptoms without adding second fear and to let time pass for recovery -  how important this is. It works miracles if you are prepared to do just this. 

I could go on and on....

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I haven't come across her before but she makes a lot of sense. I love how she talks about nervous fatigue of the spirit. It's hard to believe you'll get better when you are suffering so. You want to, it's just hard when you're so sensitised. I have terrible trouble accepting this is happening to me all over again. 

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i bought her audio book in acute withdrawal. i strongly recommend it.

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Found this posted somewhere by someone so thought i would put it here.

 

.......................................//............................................

These are notes from

 

Claire Weekes on recovery from nervous illness taken from 'Essential help for your nerves'

ie (Two of her books combined into one being, More help for your nerves and Peace from nervous suffering)

 

 

Weeks talk is referring to the nervously ill.

 

ch 2

 

Weekes offers help to the nervously ill.

Allowing them to take back control of their lives.

Her empathic guidance, comfort and self-help practical strategies ultimately allows one to self soothe and recover from nervous illness.

 

Recovery

 

Weekes teaches recovery from nervous illness by using 4 simple concepts. FAFL (or AAFL)

 

    Facing,

    Accepting,

    Floating, and

    Letting time pass.

 

                                     Facing

= acknowledging that cure must come from within oneself, with guidance and help from outside of course, and not from some permanent outside crutch.

 

Facing means:

1. Facing the things you fear for recovery lies in the places and experiences feared.

 

2. Not shying away from nervous symptoms for fear of making them worse.

Note: Shying away is running away not facing

 

3. Saying ‘It doesn’t matter, I can cope’

Some try to avoid panic, yet when it returns even minimally brave flags crumple. Facing is when our inner voice hopefully says, “Perhaps it won’t happen here”, it is then trumped by an even larger voice saying “It doesn’t matter if it does happen here. It doesn’t matter anymore. I can cope with it.”

 

4. Recognising that the way of recovery can be difficult

 

Once prepared to FACE  the next step is acceptance.

 

 

                               Acceptance

 

ACCEPTANCE IS A DEFINITE PHYSIOLOGICAL PROCESS THAT EVENTUALLY SOOTHES

 

ACCEPTANCE MEANS:

 

1. Letting the body loosen as much as possible then going toward not withdrawing from the feared symptoms the feared experiences.

 

2. ‘Letting go’, ‘going with’ bending like the willow before the wind – rolling with the punches!

When one goes forward into panic (and any feared symptoms) the secretion of the hormones, principally adrenaline, is reduced.

On the other hand tensing encourages further secretion and so more sensitization and therefore more intense symptoms.

 

3. Keeping an open mind

Despite thinking acceptance is impossible I will at the very least ‘think about’ acceptance.

 

4. Realizing acceptance is the beginning.

Established sensitization can rarely be soothed quickly because it takes time for the new mood of acceptance to be felt as peace.

 

5. Realizing it takes time for a body to establish acceptance.

Question: How can I accept while I still complain of symptoms?

The most frightening symptom is panic because in a sensitized person it can strike so fiercely and so quickly, even thinking about it can bring it on. Of course naturally we recoil, tense against it, try to stop the flash coming however tension brings more sensitization and so more panic.

 

6. Seeking out Understanding

 

i. It is difficult to accept erratic heartbeats, shaking, restlessness if one thinks they are going to die. But easier when one understands they are not going to die. That these symptoms are a temporary and unimportant upset in their nervous timing.

ii. Understand the flash of panic is no more than an electric discharge while it may feel devastating, it is only an electrical flash along sensory nerves.

iii. Blind acceptance can cure as well is acceptance based on knowledge; but when knowledge guides, acceptance is easier.

iv. ‘Putting up’ with is not acceptance.

7. Realizing acceptance is not easy.

Its not easy to accept, a fire that consumes, vibrating, shaking, stomach churning, limbs aching, heart pounding, sight blurred, foggy head, a feeling one will snap at any moment….yet accept.

8. Realizing that the cure lies in losing fear and that this is earned only by learning how to go through it the right way – with acceptance.

9. Submission

Is facing and relaxing, being prepared to go slowly with as little self- induced agitation as possible vs ‘Putting up with’ equals resistance.

Repeated panics can be exhausting.

10. Not adding a ‘second- fear’.

Accept symptoms without adding a ‘second- fear ‘ (fear of symptoms, especially fear of panic).

11. Active involvement.

Practice acceptance, make yourself comfortable, take a deep breath, let it out slowly, let your tummy muscles sag.

12. Throwing away the gun and letting the tiger come if he wants to.

 

Acceptance is key to recovery.

Peace lies on the other side of panic.

By going through panic to the other side you earned a little voice that says,

 “It doesn’t matter anymore if panic comes!”

This is the only voice to listen to… Even if you find yourself helpless on the floor

 

                              Floating

In the past Orthodox psychiatric treatments rarely recognize the importance of fear-of-fear and too often persisted with searching for childhood causes, which was neither necessary or helpful.

 

Yet fear-of-the-fear is valid.

We should float the symptoms not fight them.

 

Floating Means:

1. No grim determination, no clenched teeth as little pushing, forcing as possible.

 

2. Not adding panic to panic.

 

3. “I’ll go with it”, as gently as I can.

 

4. Not lying and gazing at the ceiling thinking, ‘I don’t have to make an effort I’ll give up the struggle.’

 

5. Not searching for a way to recover.

It’s as if one steps aside from the body and lets it find its own way out of the maze. The body that so skillfully heals a physical wound without our direction can also heal sensitized nerves if given a chance and not hindered by inquisitive fingers picking at the scar. Float don’t pick.

 

6. Removing the tension of forcing making repeated effort less daunting, vs fighting which is exhausting.

 

7. Holding one point of view

Expecting a bewildered confused person to find his own answers to his problem is rarely good therapy. It can mean an unnecessarily long period of suffering because too often through sensitization and fatigue, the sufferer switches too easily and too quickly from one point of view to another stop. Holding one point of view that brings some peace is essential for recovery. A good therapist helps his patient find such a viewpoint.

 

8. Trying to lead all disturbing obstructive thoughts float away, out of your head.

Note: This does not mean floating past real problems

Accepting and floating are very similar.

 

 

                            Letting Time Pass

 

Nervously ill people are impatient with time and want immediate appeasement.

Impatience means tension and tension is the enemy of healing.

 

A still, sensitized body can be deceptively calm in a calm atmosphere but a body even only slightly sensitized cannot always maintain calmness under renewed stress.

 

So time, more time must pass.

Time itself is a healer.

It’s similar to the donkey and the carrot. The carrot (recovery) must be shifted just a little forward during each setback but always remain within sight.

 

How long will recovery take?

So much depends on the degree of sensitization and the circumstances of recovery. There may be constant strain e.g. domestic situation.

Also it takes time to blunt memories cutting edge. We can’t anaesthetise memory.   Indeed, when surprised by some grueling memory, who can suppress an inner shudder? And yet, the person trying to recover from nervous illness seems to think he should. He wants the balm of constant peace.

It is difficult to understand that a body’s sensitized reaction to memory is no more than the working of a natural law; difficult to understand that a setback is not always a setback in the sense that it sets back, but should be even expected and accepted as part of recovery.

 

Setbacks should be expected and accepted as part of recovery.

 

Its victim is much more likely to believe that some strange jinx is bugging him. His jinx is his lack of understanding. When so close to past upsetting experiences, and with the body still churn to give a too quick, too intense, reaction to memories prodding, it is natural to be too easily bluffed by memory into thinking he will never recover.

 

When memory first strikes it is as if the sufferer has learned nothing from past experience. The symptoms he learned to disregard suddenly begin to matter again – very much. And before he has time to study himself enough to think clearly, he feels sucked willy -nilly nearly into the whirlpool of setback.

 

However if he had originally worked his way out of suffering the hard way – by having truly faced and lived with his symptoms while accepting them, having conquered adding second fear (fear of symptoms, especially fear of panic ) then memory of his original recovery gradually awakens the little inner voice that says, ‘you’ve come out of it before. You can do it now! ‘ You know that the symptoms do not really matter! He hears this voice with thanksgiving and relief, because  with it comes a special feeling, a realization that the symptoms really do not matter. He now feels this; doesn’t just think it is he did at the beginning of setback. He now feels that with relief. Fear gradually goes; relaxation and peace come. He is on the way to true recovery.

 

Recovery is built on repeated experiences of discovering that symptoms no longer matter.

 

When enough setbacks bring enough such experiences, the feeling of symptoms- no-longer mattering comes more quickly, is more forceful, and the impact of memory shock becomes weaker and weaker until it is but an echo of former suffering.

 

Setback is one of the best teachers, and an almost essential halting place in recovery because it gives more time to relearn and practice.

[A therapist may not understand this].

 

At some point in nervous illness the sufferer may be so ill he no longer cares what happens; however, as he begins to recover, caring returns and this may be complicated by his feeling that although much better, he cannot face the future demands and responsibilities of normal living. At such a time he is often accused of not wanting to get better. Make no mistake, he wants to recover, but at the same time the prospect of coping with the demands of recovery may be so frightening while he is in his present state of only partial recovery, that he almost convinces himself that the criticism may be true – another bewilderment in nervous illness!  

 

Enough time must pass to provide a protective layer of normal responses to help him gradually find his balance and normal living, to take normal reaction for granted.

 

As his body strengthens, his spirits rise, optimism and confidence returned. The process may be so gradual he may be unaware of it. It is this gradualness that makes all possible and only the passage of enough time can bring such gradualness.

 

A Dutchman once said to Vera Brittain (an English author) that the postwar Dutch were suffering from a spiritual sickness which time and understanding alone would heal. He said that suffering could not be eraised the moment the war ended and peace came; time was necessary for the Dutch to regain their balance, their ability to be on top of events, including their own lives. He added; ‘Be patient with us. We have to grow into liberty.’

 

 And so must the nervously ill person grow into recovery. There is no electric switch, no overnight cure.

 

Many nervously ill people expect recovery to bring a state of peace they never previously felt.

For many people piece is often further delayed by their two fearful, and too  tense, recoil from a binding awareness of self – the result of months, even years, of concentration on themselves and their illness. They delay their own recovery by trying to force forgetfullness. Nothing can be forced in nervous illness. The only way to lose consciousness of self is to accept it; to accept any thought that comes as part of ordinary thinking. This means that they should think about themselves and their illness as much as the habit demands and realize that it is only a habit fostered by mental fatigue. Once more I stress that the key to recovery is not in forgetting but in no- longer- mattering, for this time must pass.

 

When the patient realises that the intensity of his reaction is part of his sensitization and that if he accepts it and that’s more time passed, those reactions will gradually become normal, then intense reaction can be born more philosophically this is sometimes called regaining one’s balance and, as the Dutchman said to Vera Brittain, it takes time.

 

 

 

And a bit extra thrown in...

Last 2 pages  of book , p409-410

 

The Alarming Return of Panic

Reviewing the difficulties of recovery I would say the most alarming of all is the return of panic weeks, even years, after recovery. In my experience, this unexpected reappearance of panic causes more concern than any other aspect of nervous illness. It shocks, frightens, and it reminds. That is why it is so shocking. Reminds one of so much one would rather forget forever; of so much one hoped one had forgotten forever.

 

The fear immediately added, together with the physical disturbance caused by panic, resensitises slightly and helps bring back some of the old, perhaps almost forgotten, nervous sensations, so that the unwary sufferer may be bluffed into thinking it has returned, will return if he doesn’t look out.

 

Never retreat from fear, in fear. Never let an unexpected return of panic shock you into running away from it. Halt; go slowly. See the panic through and then go quietly on with whatever you are doing. That the panic come again and again if it wants to. Do not try to switch it off in fear; do not withdraw blindly from it. Understand that some tension, some strain, may have slightly sensitized you once more; or that memory, stirred by some sight, sound, thought, smell, may have flashed the old feeling. Any of us at times may become slightly sensitised by strain, so that we feel on edge, apprehensive. If this happens to one who has felt panic intensively in the past, his apprehension can quickly change to panic, because the way to panic in him is so well worn. One could almost say his panic mechanism is well oiled, ready.

 

If you accept that for a long time to come you may have a strong flash of panic from time to time, and if you can realise this means no more than that you are slightly sensitised for the moment, or that memory has stirred the embers of your illness, and if you can see this panic through for what it is – only a physical feeling without real significance – then you are truly recovered despite occasional bouts of recurring panic.

 

I remind you again that recovery from panic lies on the other side of panic, whenever it may come. Always see it through and go on with the job in hand. Never run home and fear. Never begin avoiding again.

 

So:

Accept everything about your illness.

Do not waste energy trying to analyse every strange happening.

Do not be dismayed by sit back; nor bluffed by memory.

Do not despair when achievements seems unreal; practice, never test.

Do not be overawed by defeatist contemplation.

Do not be dismayed if you feel nervy than ever when you first begin the journey to recovery.

Do not be discouraged by physical illness.

Above all, do not be shocked by return of panic, or any strange flash experience.

You may think there is so much to remember, so much to do. There isn’t, you know. It is all in one word – accept.

Once you have the understanding this book brings, it will not matter if you forget the rest, as long as you remember that wonderful word accept.

Good luck.

..................................................//...............................................

Edited by ChessieCat
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Not sure how to get the audio in but thankfully cc has enabled that.

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Thought i would add this post from Petu in Pollys intro:

................//............................

 ...while in withdrawal, nothing actually stops the chemically caused symptoms apart from time. In fact, I think I've slowed my recovery by trying to expose myself to more stimuli than my NS could tolerate, causing even more stress.

 

While in withdrawal, look for activities and therapies which help you to accept and manage what you are experiencing, rather than engaging in techniques which are developed to change cognitively based anxiety and fear. Withdrawal symptoms are physiological in nature, they will fade away over time. It can be helpful to learn techniques to control any secondary cognitive fears (about the symptoms and condition), this is where CBT can sometimes be helpful, by learning ways to accept what you are going through and not increasing the anxiety with fearful thoughts

..............................//...........................................

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Appreciate the post ~ great information.

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I just bought "Hope and Help for your nerves" It is helping me through a nasty wave.

Edited by ChessieCat
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Hi all,

 

I remember ten years ago when I first tried to withdrawal from zoloft I stumbled upon claire Weekes book in the bookstore "Self help for your nerves". At first I thought it was just like all the other books about anxiety but it wasn't'. What I liked about her book is the way she explains the nervous system and the many bizarre thoughts and symptoms it can produce. She helped me a great deal.

 

I also like the Charles Linden program. Being a victim himself he was unecessarly drugged as a teenager with a cocktail of medicine for his anxiety. His program is very good and he understands the dangers of these drugs but I don't think he is aware of protracted withdrawal syndrome.

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The way I understand her now is that when it comes to the experience of anxiety symptoms, or any unexpected, unexplained symptoms, our natural reaction is to fight them, to try and get rid of them, to struggle with them or try and escape from them, spending vast amounts of energy trying to make them go away, trying to ignore them and keep pushing on with our lives, or we become obsessed with them and spend hours on the internet, trying to find answers. So our whole existence becomes a constant war between us and our symptoms. Of course we become more and more exhausted from fighting this battle all the time and this exhaustion causes more stress which in turn makes our symptoms worse and so we get sicker.

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Sound advice all. I was introduced to Dr. Weekes through Chessiecat- and I'm glad I was. I listened to her audio recordings and just that, listening- to them helped me change course. I've been incorporating it and does seem to help.  Three nights- no Cortisol Surges/spikes. 

 

If they happen, I won't be fighting them. I'll be accepting of them. Like I've been accepting and facing my anxiety episodes all the last few days.  Who knows how long it'll take me to recover from this adrenal fatigue? I don't. But I do know that this change in my handling of them has been a step in the right direction. 

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Hi Rockingchaircat,

 

That's really good to hear.  It was someone else who thankfully started the dialogue about Dr Weekes not that long ago.  She mentioned that she was surprised that it Dr Weekes hadn't been talked about before.  I did watch a video interview with Dr Weekes on youtube, but it was taken down shortly afterwards.

 

My belief is that the more we understand something the less we fear it and this allows the brain to do what it needs to do instead of being busy trying to fight off non-existent/imagined threats.

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I am going to seek out cw's book. Time for some reading me thinks.

 

Thanks for this!

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Been reading

Recovery and Renewal by Baylissa and Frederick.

(I learnt in this book that Baylissa is also a psychotropic drug survivor...this fact alone makes the book very powerful).

 

She has a section on acceptance it is worth reading. It is exactly what Weeks is saying. I loved her 'waiting in the traffic analogy'. 

 

                                      Acceptance.

 

Acceptance is the most important requirement for efficiently managing withdrawal.

 

To resolve to cope successfully without fully accepting the presence of the symptoms is unrealistic.

 

For some people, acceptance implies giving up, resignation or failure.

 

In your world, however, acceptance means less distress and minimal anxiety.

It is the difference between barely surviving withdrawal and coping well.

Imagine that you are on your way home. You know without doubt that you will arrive. You look ahead and notice there is a massive traffic jam. You are stuck. There is no way out but through. All you can do is resign yourself to waiting. This is withdrawal.

 

If you can apply the same approach to your symptoms, you will fare much better than if you try to direct or control how your recovery process unfolds

 

. As you become aware of your symptoms, try to go with the feelings without struggling or attempting to stop them.

 

You may not be able to do this easily at first, but as you learn to observe your body's physiological reactions, you will find that you can make a mental note of what is happening without letting the fear overcome you.

 

Even if you're anxiety levels are extremely high, you can simply surrender; resolve to do nothing but be with the feeling of your hands shaking, heart beating fast, agitation or however it manifests.

 

Whenever I had an intense feeling of fear or impending doom, I would take deep breaths  and talk myself through it without resisting.

 

'Okay here we go again; it's back. Ah well, at least I know what it is.… Feels like I'm petrified but I'm not really. Gosh, look how shaky I am. This is normal. I don't need to do anything. I know what it is and it will soon pass.'

It works; just don't fight it.

You're not going to stop breathing, faint, fall or die as much as it may feel that way.

 

When you think that as intense as the feeling is, you have had it before and it has never caused any harm. Whatever you feared might happen, did not. You can use this to reassure yourself that as terrified as you may be feeling while it is happening, you are going to be okay.

 

Breathe and repeat. It can take time and practice to become fully accepting. You may occasionally still resist the symptoms.

 

This is normal as it is instinctive behaviour to struggle when a threat is perceived. The key is to not give up or become impatient with yourself when this happens.

Try to see your symptoms as little inconveniences – the cars ahead of you in the traffic.

 

You will soon notice that even if at first you do give in and fight a particular symptom, with practice you will eventually be able to choose how you respond. Yes, you are stuck with annoying and sometimes frightening symptoms, but is only a temporary setback. You will make it home to recovery.

 

Withdrawal is literally healing in action. If you are able to acknowledge each symptom, no matter how disturbing, as necessary – evidence that your nervous system is recovering – you will be able to truly accept them.

 

As some say when new symptoms appear or old ones resurface: 'So this is what it feels like to heal.'

p42-44

 

"The most important thing to remember is that as unpleasant and unsettling as withdrawal can be, it does not last indefinitely.

Recovery is the usual outcome." p14

 

                                                                              "Keep holding on". p37

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Surely it has dawned on you by now that 'SA' does not need its own book. I admit to thinking about the idea in the past but reading the above post proves to me it has already been done.

 

Members here have the expectation of privacy so none of their stories can be used and in case it has escaped you, all of Alto's posts are copyrighted.

 

Much as you'd like to think so, no one would sit still long enough to read it.

 

Far better for you to continue your spreadsheet work. And me to get a move on before all I can do is sit in my chair and drool on my keyboard.

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Thank you for this thread on one of our great pioneers. I have her book, but am unable to read it. I'm ordering the audible version now.

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I'm very curious about done of these things, both by Baylissa and Frederick and by Dr Claire Weekes. They speak of allowing your symptoms to happen but I have some questions: does this apply to all withdrawal symptoms, including the depressive feeling? While trying these techniques I still somewhat fight the depression, but more so let it stay in the background while I do things.

 

Next question and it's kinda important to me: when allowing these symptoms to happen, does this include breathing fast? I always feel like I need more air so my body feels like it wants to breathe faster. I've never allowed this for worry of hyperventilating. So far I've be doing surprisingly well with just allowing my symptoms to be, so answers to this would be very helpful! :)

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thanks petunia for the info,she so tuned into the bodys system ,i see theres loads  on you tube, loads for me to watch thanks.

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I started reading the book OP posted but am disgusted by how the author keeps reccomending the long term use of benzodiazepines, and ECV. How am I supposed to take the book seriously now?

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I started reading the book OP posted but am disgusted by how the author keeps reccomending the long term use of benzodiazepines. How am I supposed to take the book seriously now?

 

Which book are you referring to by which author?

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