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.