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!


Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

I'm on the edge of my seat here.... did it work? I can imagine only too well how you must have felt when it looked like you had nobody in charge of your business while you were away. You must have been on the edge of your seat too.

Jill said...

Well I guess this was meant to happen then :)I hope you both find what you need at the Linden retreat. I will be very interested to hear how it goes.

Anonymous said...

Hi there. No offense, but I don't buy into "The Linden Method". The name alone sounds like some outdated child-rearing technique. I've been agoraphobic for 12 years myself. I actually have gotten sicker in the process of trying to get better, which I've only been able to explain as not having the support I need to succeed. While I think a retreat/rehabilitation combo is brilliant, one that lasts all of a few days that promises an instant cure at 4000 pounds just makes me roll my eyes. Back to the 'magic pill' kind of thinking and hoping days. I guess it's not terribly different from CBT for that matter, seeing as there's absolutely no clinical proof of longterm improvement from it, either. I hope it helped Marie, but I get the impression it didn't.. Maybe not as much as you'd have all liked at least, though it does sound like her own willpower alone really helped before.

Anyway, it feels weird to offer advice to another method when my own agoraphobia is the worst it's ever been, but ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) is the best I've found for my own agoraphobia. It is hard to stay the course of any method, and agoraphobia is a highly reliant disorder as I'm sure you know, which is also part of why I haven't been able to succeed as much as I'd like to, but I have seen myself go from a fully dependent agoraphobic to almost completely independent for months at a time with ACT. That keeping it going part is hell though. Marie is so lucky to have you and all her support. I bet she could make amazing strides with it if TLM is a letdown.

Nothing is a 'magic pill' of course though. For me, at least, having had this so long, I feel completely blind as to what to do out THERE when the blanks aren't already filled in for me. It's not enough to just pick up and go somewhere in the long run, because all the accumulated issues of having had agoraphobia will be right behind waiting to suck you back into that comfort zone when you're really at your most vulnerable. They're all the more powerful when you're fighting them because it's exhausting! And so many people don't realize that.

Anyway, now I feel like I'm ranting! If it worked for her, than that's good. If it didn't, I just wanted to leave some hope as ACT is a newer method that hasn't gotten much attention. I actually took part in their free online study group for it when it was first released, which was the first time I'd gone out alone after 8 years. It's really promising, but it's definitely the hardest job I've ever had.

rainbowdust33 said...

please update us with how she got on!! :) x

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