Sunday, 14 August 2011

The Linden Method & Marie - Part II

When I decided to move to England in 1994, I chose the location and bought a business there.  Along with the business came a full complement of fine staff and one of these was Amy, a highly intelligent, very competent lady in her 50's with decades of experience.  In time, I surrendered the day-to-day running of the business into her capable hands.  When Marie came on the scene, the two of them became close friends, despite the age difference.  They would swap intimacies while Amy was at work and Marie would help out in my business.  Then, just after last Christmas, Amy decided to retire.  This caused me some logistical problems, of course, but for Marie the loss of her close friend was a big blow.  She rarely visited my business premises, became pretty much housebound and depression set in.

Marie became even more set on going on The Linden Retreat.  However, her life at that time consisted of her sleeping all morning and then spending most of the rest of the day on Facebook. I couldn't see the point of her going to The Linden Retreat if she couldn't be bothered to get up and see our children before they went to school or put them to bed at night.  So I made a deal with her - if she followed the Linden Method at home for a while, then I would go to The Retreat with her.

So she began to follow Charles Linden's 9 pillars - or at least, some of them.  She ordered up food to follow Charles' dietary suggestions.  Her waking/sleeping times regularised.  After a while, she was out driving in her car again - only short trips, but better than nothing.  Marie began to visit some (small) shops again.  She started spending some time in the business.  Our house was cleaner, tidier and the children thrived on the extra attention being heaped on them.  Life was much better for all of us.

And Marie had a goal!  She wanted to go on holiday with me and the children.  (I had already booked a holiday in Spain.)  She wanted to go to Barcelona!  I knew that Marie was really serious about this when she applied for a passport. Bringing Marie to Barcelona with us would be easy for me.  I had booked a holiday home, not a hotel; and there was a hire car to transport us around.  All I had to do was book an extra seat on the planes.

So I agreed to take Marie on The Linden Retreat in June.  (She didn't feel able to go without me.)  We booked the retreat and I organised staff to run the business in my absence.  I felt that the children would be bored at The Retreat's venue, The Elms Hotel & Spa in Worcestershire, so I arranged childcare.

But a problem arose.  When Amy decided to retire, I passed on her duties to May, my next-most-experienced member of staff.  She was the one who would be looking after business while I went with Marie to The Retreat and when I went to Spain in July.  May decided that she wanted to move home, back to the area where she spent her childhood and where several of her family members still lived.  She gave me a month's notice to quit.  And the date she was leaving?  Right in the middle of The Retreat.  Without competent staff, I couldn't go anywhere.

I successfully recruited new staff.  But there was no way that they would be sufficiently trained to be left on their own before Marie and I left for The Retreat.  With only a few days to go before The Retreat, I realised that I would have to cancel all my plans - always a risk when you run your own business.  Marie was, understandably, very upset.  The children weren't too happy either, looking at the possibility that our holiday in Spain would be cancelled.

Then Stephanie contacted me.  Stephanie manages one of my branches.  She offered to supervise my business while I was away, and had already organised staff to cover her absence at her branch.  What a hero!

So, 48 hours later, Marie and I set off on the 3-hour drive to rural Worcestershire.  Marie was going on The Retreat!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

The Linden Method & Marie - Part I

Back to the summer of 2010.  Marie was pretty down, but we had a new resident to make her life more interesting.

Regular readers will know that Marie & I are hosts to Austrian students every summer.  They attend a two-week summer school where they improve their knowledge of the English language and also, from sharing life with a local family, learn about English culture.  Our students are usually girls.  One girl, who had stayed with us a few years ago, wrote to ask if she could stay with us for a couple months.  I'll call her Anna.  Further investigation revealed that, out of the blue, Anna's father had left her mother for another woman.  Her mother was both devastated by this unexpected failure in her marriage and justifiably angry about the months of deceit from her spouse.  Foe Anna, a break from the family home was required.  Anna's mother supported this temporary absence of her daughter and once I had sorted out all the legal, social, medical and educational matters, we had a teenage foster daughter.  Anna stayed until Christmas, twice as long as originally planned, until her mother wanted her to return home.

Having a foster daughter affected Marie in two ways.  Firstly, she had a new companion, someone to chat to at length.  But secondly, she became increasingly aware how much she was missing due her confinement to our home.  Not only was I the only one who shared our children's out-of-home activities, but I was also now the only one who shared Anna's out-of-home activities.  Marie began to look for ways to diminish her agoraphobia.  When she found out that Charles Linden was on Facebook, she revived her interest in The Linden Method.

We have had The Linden Method in our home since 2005.  And in 2009, we visited the Great Man himself at his office in Kidderminster.  He was able to make Marie feel confident enough to do much, much more than usual - a capability with which I cannot compete.  Marie bought another copy of The Linden Method (the original one is seriously dog-eared and some of the CD's etc. are missing).  His book became Marie's bible and became a necessary item in her handbag.  She listened to his CDs regularly.  She was a regular contributor on his Facebook wall.

But there was little improvement in her condition.

Around November, an agoraphobic friend asked Marie why, if The Linden Method was the answer to agoraphobia, she wasn't cured already?  Revealingly, Marie answered that she didn't have enough incentive to follow the programme!

This confirmed what I had believed for quite a while - I am Marie's worst enemy (in relation to agoraphobia only!).  I have removed the need for her to work, look after the children, do the shopping, plan for the future, walk anywhere...  Her life is comfortable enough for her to feel it unnecessary to do what it takes to tackle her agoraphobia.

Things changed towards the end of 2010.  Marie had had enough of depression and constant anxiety.  She still believed that The Linden Method was her way out of agoraphobia, but she now believed that she needed his latest (at that time) aid for anxiety sufferers.

She needed The Linden Method Retreat.  And to accede, I needed to find about £4,000!*

* The Linden Method Retreat cost £2,700 at that time.  Other expenses which contributed to the total cost were travelling and subsistence expenses, extra staff  wages and childcare costs.