The true story of the little-known mental-health pioneer who revolutionised how we see the defining problem of our era: anxiety.
Panic, depression, sorrow, guilt, disgrace, obsession, sleeplessness, low confidence, loneliness, agoraphobia … The international bestseller Self-Help for Your Nerves, first published in 1962 and still in print, has helped tens of millions of people to overcome all of these, and continues to do so. Yet even as letters and phone calls from readers around the world flooded in, thanking her for helping to improve — and in some cases to save — their lives, Dr Claire Weekes was dismissed as underqualified and overly populist by the psychiatric establishment. Just who was this woman?
Claire Weekes was driven by a restless and unconventional mind that saw her become the first woman to earn a Doctor of Science degree at Australia’s oldest university, win global plaudits for her research into evolution, and take a turn as a travel agent, before embarking on a career in medicine. But it was a mistaken diagnosis of tuberculosis that would set her heart racing and push her towards integrating all she’d learned into a practical treatment for anxiety — a tried-and-true method now seen as state-of-the-art 30 years after her death. This book is the first to tell her remarkable story.