“Recovery is the no longer mattering”

Dr Claire Weekes

I think it is important to be clear about what exactly it means to be ‘recovered’ from anxiety. The wonderful late Dr Claire Weekes summed up recovery simply by saying, “recovery is the no longer mattering” and I don’t think there is, or ever will be, a better definition. For those of you who are not familiar with this wonderful woman, let me assure you that she was a true pioneer in the world of anxiety recovery or ‘nervous illness’ as she liked to call it. I cannot recommend her work highly enough and I personally owe a lot of my own recovery to her, many of the self help books and anxiety recovery programmes available today have been heavily influenced and inspired by her teachings. I find it quite upsetting that most counsellors, therapists and psychiatrists are not familiar with her work, such a shame for many people.

Recovery means bringing anxiety levels back down to normal manageable levels and enabling normal functioning of everyday living through its limitless demands. It means being able to go with the flow of life through its ups and downs and not be carried away by them. Let us be under no false illusions though, what recovery does not mean is that you will never experience a difficult anxiety provoking situation ever again in your life. How could you not? You have already created memories of past suffering that if given the right conditions will inevitably resurface again. The difference between recovery and non-recovery lies in your ability to cope with these difficult situations when they arise; understanding them for what they really are and dismissing them in such a way that they ‘no longer matter’. When these moments pass unimposing, that is what I mean by recovery.