It’s been almost 2 weeks now since I purchased the Charles Linden Method to help me recover from my remaining anxiety and agoraphobia issues. I decided to take the plunge and pay for the program (just over £100) because it has had very high profile, positive feedback, even from a couple of well known celebrities who have suffered from panic attacks. I paid a little extra to have the paper version of the book and the actual CDs that support the program delivered (rather than just the digital version).
I’ve had a few first impressions of the program, which I will share with you now. It will be interesting to see how these views changes as I progress with it.
To start the program you need to watch an introductory DVD with Charles Linden himself explaining the ethos of the system he has developed. There are 10 key principles you need to follow to have success with this program (called “The Ten Pillars”), which are all designed around retraining negative thought patterns within your mind that contribute to your phobia and anxiety.
Much of what is taught in the program is sensible, sound advice. There is nothing in there I haven’t heard before, but the difference is that Charles has put together ALL of the helpful tips, exercises, strategies and lifestyle changes that support you when you are trying to challenge your negative thought patterns and habits. When I first started reading the book and watching the DVDs, I must admit I found all the information a little overwhelming, not being 100% sure where to start, or what exactly I needed to do first. That is why I am now a couple of weeks in and am still digesting the information to ensure I make all the right changes in my life.
My understanding of the program so far is that it works on 3 different levels.
1) It makes you challenge your current thought processes and habits
Years of having a phobia or anxiety usually mean you have built in several habits that only give your anxiety power (such as avoiding situations where you feel anxious or relying on others). There are 10 pillars you need to put in place which challenge these thoughts. They are designed to engage the human ‘rational’ side of your brain.
2) It makes you change your lifestyle to get rid of any general anxiety
Relaxation, exercise, diet and medication are all things that can affect how anxious you feel. Putting good habits in place (daily relaxation CDs, yoga or tai chi, a balanced diet giving you the correct vitamins and minerals, and cutting out alcohol and smoking) is probably something we all know we should be doing anyway, but by making them part of our daily routine our bodies and minds are better equipped to handle anxiety when it presents itself.
3) It gives you a toolkit of things to help when panic starts
This includes distraction techniques, breathing exercises, posture advice and lots of helpful tips to stop panic in its tracks should it occur.
So the fundamentals of the program make complete sense. The hardest part for me is to challenge my negative thought processes. One of the pillars you are supposed to follow is to stop relying on other people. As an agoraphobia sufferer, this is quite difficult for me as I do rely on others to come with me when travelling far afield. When I first read the program, I did think to myself, “If it was easy to just stop relying on others, I would have done that years ago!”. But as I’m working my way through the rest of the book I do feel as though it could be possible for me to achieve.
Small steps at first but the best tip I read in the book was to wake up and act like the person you want to be (confident to go anywhere and do anything) regardless of how you feel. If you feel anxious, you then have the tools to deal with the symptoms by yourself. This helped me in week 1 and I have found it positive to wake up each day telling myself I don’t have any anxiety issues (albeit a little strange).
I’m planning to finish the book this weekend and implement all of the strategies in the book from Tuesday. So my next write up will give a much more accurate insight into how helpful the program is. But I am hopeful this could be the answer.