The Most Viable Non-Exposure Based Treatment Program for Anxiety
Feeling the fear and doing it anyway is part of the most viable non-exposure-based treatment program for anxiety- it is all part of what is known as The Linden Method.
Brian's Background(more)About 12 years ago my son who was Autistic/Aspergers already started to come down with OCD and BiPolar Disorder which morphed into Schizoaffective Disorder as possible. He was admitted and successfully treated and with the right meds is back to his normal Aspergers happy self... and really what we see is completely so. But the OCD was the most pervasive part, having a rare form called Scrupulosity. Almost like Howie Mandell in the media talks about germs on his hands, Scrupulosity is 'germs on the soul' and you use confession as your hand washing. It is not culturally based, and non-religious people are just as 'infected' with Scrupulosity, a form of OCD. To continue, I was the highest grade in mental diagnosis in both my undergrad class at UVU and in my grad class at Saint Martins University in mental diagnosis. My point is that I'm no stranger to seeing anxiety in action, as well as studying some basic treatments. Now... having suffered from a form of morning anxiety in the past, due to some marital difficulties/scars and some of of my son's condition plaguing us some surrounding some of those stresses, I found that "talk therapy" (exposure) or systematic desensitization (trying to find a safe environment through telling my story many times) was not working, but making it worse. I found a system that worked for me. It is called The Linden Method.
The Linden Method (TLM)
Charles Linden traveled around as an anxiety sufferer interviewing people that had gotten better and over an anxiety condition and he found one common thread. Whenever anyone anywhere ever got over anxiety, they attributed discontinuing spending time on their worries, and instead focused on more interesting things in their life. He began to see a correlation, more interesting things started to take over their lives more, indeed the two seemed inseparable, such that they had to replace the bad by negating it completely in favor of the good, new and interesting, or already meaningful and pleasurable parts of their lives taking over. He could see it emerging as almost a principle: That anywhere anytime that anybody had ever gotten better it is BECAUSE they occupied their lives WITH more interesting activities and events that disallowed the worry to continue and as a result, the very structure of the worry brain was/is changed. This is how "The Linden Method" was born.
Divert and Distract from all of the worst-case anxiety scenarios you previously stew about 24/7 (that is the KEY) by:
1) Doing interesting and enjoyable things you have done before that you'd like to do again and plan them into every half hour of your day.
2) Think of interesting and enjoyable things that you newly would like to do and plan them into every half hour of your day.
Belief in this is so important and you need to watch the intro FAST TRACK TO RECOVERY video of Charles speaking about how this works and WHY this works. And then he lays out nine pillars to support this new way and program. Now, I don't speak from theory or rhetoric when I say- IT WORKS! I speak from personal experience!!! IT WORKS!
Now... I think KNOW (I've had a touch of a couple of them and Charles Linden himself said he had them all, keyword HAD) there are different brands of anxiety, but his method teaches that it works across them all.
He has a small pdf, The Linden Method Manual, that highlights very succinctly and is as brief and organized, a structure as can ever be given... on some nuances or items pertaining to each type of anxiety disorder from phobias, PTSD, OCD, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, etc. It is vital to just spend about a half-hour reading and studying up on your brand of anxiety with his very key ancillary info. But it is an add-on, the main thrust I'll give you here will treat them all, as Charles Linen lays this out. It also contains his 9 Pillars to support treatment. Once you have success, that can come in as little as two days or under a week, go buy his program. OR if you must, access the older version I purchased over 10 years ago here.
It is hard to put in words the joy and hope you can experience in as little as a few days utilizing this method. Once you are hooked, you won't go back.
All of us have been there. You are on vacation and somebody starts doing something where one person gets upset and another doesn't know how much to say to "help it". If they say and do nothing problems might result and if they say too much, problems will result there too. They happen to try to address it and bam, too much was said and now people are fighting. However, a certain amount of addressing is sympathized with, but not too much or you're... shall we say... "toast"? Haha... well, this is a lot like anxiety in a sense. What I'd like to say is this: people may "think" they are helping when they are not, they are part of the problem and THEY indeed HAVE the problem, just not "as they perceive it to be". Just like the person who thought they could be helping, they can be part of the problem.
Given other contexts saying a lot of stuff is ok and tolerable and academic maybe even. However, with anxiety, it is more like a volatile situation- say too much and you'll be damned and often you know you did wrong before you say it, you just didn't exercise that last bit of caution. Delicate process emotion is. This is a lot like anxiety. It is like baking bread, too much yeast or not enough, etc. It is delicate. Well, can I draw that analogy to say that, fear, the basic component of anxiety is not bad, but the nature of it can become bad really fast and have ear markings of such in its basic form. It can arguably "go south", even though it is just intrinsic to many processes. In like manner, WE ALL suffer an anxiety condition, just have times we are able to switch it off easier OR LIKE AN ANXIETY SUFFERER WE CAN FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY (this will be important to understand the remedy inside The Linden Method). So, we are a LOT LIKE someone in recovery already, BUT with the problem nonetheless on some level, just not near as incessant and persistent. BUT it can be turned on TO BE JUST LIKE an anxiety sufferer, is the WHOLE POINT. It is BECAUSE we don't always manage emotion well in some situations or on some occasions. But then we find a way to turn that down and it subsides on its own. Anxiety suffers are the same, only they are not able to turn it off as easily or to some degree or another NOT AT ALL sometimes.
This whole explanation is to tell how it is that a seemingly admirable profession, counseling, can all the sudden be the problem as to why people with this condition are being held hostage LONGER and BECAUSE of "one's own therapy" that encourages one to "not get better" by talking/ruminating too much about it. If this can be, and often is the case, how does it happen?
Anxiety is a subtle thing as to "when it has you" and "when it does not" is WHY! One can also assess for themselves whether they tend to get over-emotional about everything else if repetitive trauma is a 'thing', and if they can believe about themselves that traumas seem to add up to making them over-emotional in life. If so, then pursuing TLM at such times can help change oneself to have less over-emotionality over things.
The reason why I'm going to polarize and group together the approaches to treat anxiety into Exposure & Systematic Desensitization (see below) as being most all other methods in contrast to The Linden Method is so that you can properly evaluate for yourself as an anxiety sufferer, when and how things are helpful as it pertains to making a case for using The Linden Method to treat your anxiety or over-emotionality or not. AND because I believe the other approaches can easily become, without knowing it, party to the problem, rather than the solution. It is JUST LIKE the analogy of the counseling doing more harm than good or of too much emotion in/on the family car/trip gone bad.
HOPE is something FAST fading among persistent anxiety sufferers who can't seem to "turn it off". Contrasting and eliminating the contradictions in favor of one method can ALSO help instill hope again, precisely because I know it works. May Brian's "why" from experience, help you go "all-in" and put all your stock in the behavioral program of Diversion & Distraction and the Linden Method, which is also very basic and tenable!
Part of this why, includes understanding how "exposure therapy" (OR Systematic Desensitization) is designed to eventually help one CONFRONT their fears- as "the idea threatening the viability of The Linde Method". So first let's explore its basis. Then we can sink into "The Linden Method" (TML).
Systematic Desensitization (Exposure Therapy)
The other method that has merit in the mainstream world of steeped schooling theory [what counselors are mainly taught] to treat anxiety is by way of Exposure Therapy, often in the form of Systematic Desensitization. There has been some success with this. A percentage I think I read somewhere was about 60% effective; whereas The Linden team advocates a 100% success with their system IF fully implemented.
A quick example is when somebody has phobias of snakes, they first create a safe feeling with somebody, that then first shows them for very brief exposure a picture of a snake in a safe environment. The helper then GRADUALLY exposes them to more and more occasions of snakes to where they become GRADUALLY comfortable first with pictures, then greater time duration of those things, and then a rubber snake and then all the way up to an eventual full blow exposure of handling a live snake and not having any problems with it. This systematic exposure theory can work very effectively with many phobias, that have a very specific identifiable source for the anxiety and maybe with any initial bad experience(s) being overcome or that can be worked with and "undone". However, most anxiety, as in PTSD, OCD, Social Anxiety, is more "generalized" as in the actual condition one is also named "Generalized" where there is NOT a ready identifiable precipitating cause... it is allusive. And most anxiety conditions ARE!
Some clinicians have identified something that puts its hand or at least foot on the problem. They say, while depression is living and stewing in the past, anxiety is living and stewing in the future, over the worst-case scenario. To be healthy, stay in the present they say. Just playing with both areas being "unhealthy land" one can make assumptions. For instance, one can try to visit the past to undo future worry, but because it is a problem with "the futurizing of things", no amount of searching around in the past will "fix the future".
Mixed Anxiety/Depression, Drugs and TLM
Let me say here that some depression will eat at one's ability to "live in the present" and erode...(more)...the ability to kick butt on negative future casting or anxiety. So, to limit its mixed effects, I find only one reference to using a chemical in TLM and it's a herb- Chamomile Tea. Well, it has a bit of serotonin in it for the morning pick me up which can help in the start of DOING the diversions and distractions easier, instead of negative ruminating. However, aside from that one exception in using more of a herb, TLM apposes any crutch, like the psychological effect of "needing any drug for anxiety". It is because they act long-term more like a tranquilizer. That you may need a drug for depression, I personally think is NOT antithetical or contradictory to practicing TLM. So, don't go off depression meds when one of his 9 pillars says to go off meds under the supervision of a doctor... that is meds "for anxiety" not other conditions, I believe.
But that it is just the opposite with anxiety- that IT must be improved through strict adherence to: DO PLEASURABLE AND MEANINGFUL ACTIVITIES (behavioral intervention-TLM) OUT OF SHEER DETERMINATION TO FORGET YOU EVEN HAVE AN ANXIETY PROBLEM BY UTTERLY FAKING IT TILL YOU MAKE IT AND IGNORING THOSE SENSATIONS INTERMIDABLY IF YOU HAVE TO. Any remaining and most all cognitive distortions will go away as a natural by-product of TLM. When I think of behaviorally incited error being the problem, I think of how "overthinking" produces a result in the brain/one's habits of skewed perceptions that are directly a result of "under behaving". TLM brings it back into balance and corrects the thinking distortions and in many cases may be the ONLY thing that can as a matter of principle fact. It is that when anyone anywhere gets better, it was because they supplanted or "redressed" into positive activities and Here and Now activities/experiences that address this imbalance, and allow them to "move on" and "push past those fears" by REPLACING THEM with OTHER DOING THINGS. It may mean that those bodily fear sensations get ignored both when they are being felt "during transitions" of activity per se AND when they are not, because the activities planned allowed one to forget them and not have them "for a time". It is a concrete problem, not an abstracted one. So, persisting in back-to-back activities to negate "overthinking" is the key.
Think of anxiety meds as tranquilizers, the anxiety comes right back after you take them off it. So get the skills to beat it without the meds and develop self-reliance!
Because you want to instill a "full-acting-the-part-of-being-healthy"- the more identity you can associate with it the BETTER. This may even include acting like an actor or favorite person you know.
However, in cases of depression where meds can and do help elevate mood, enough to help cultivate positive interest in life, it can be helpful to not go off of those, if they are already in place. Also, Re-Thinking your thoughts to correct them is encouraged in the treatment of depression and is often used in tandem with medication to heighten the gaining of the cognitive skills of refuting irrational beliefs. I think most practitioners assume that anxiety meds might be indicated as a PRN for acute/unsafe conditions that can be greatly calmed with meds. But after the "one incident" it will give no long-lasting coping skills. So... it is NOT the same for anxiety- meds, they will only dumb the person down, LIKE a tranquilizer- think TRANQUILIZER.
Remember, if you're going to Do Stuff in the "here and now" so that you can REMAIN fully present, you need to "put it all on" by doing things you like to do and "act the part of a well person". Does that demonstrate faith? Most assuredly! One can try to handle both, they just need to try to think less when anxiety is present and "do more".
Anecdotally, because of all the implications regarding 'the more identity, you can associate with it' aside from needing some reality checks, it 'can be' (not the same as "is") very deleterious to have a loved one keep casting you in the sick role. It is the same idea involving how a counselor can start doing that. I think it can very well be sometimes their own anxiety-based errors and limitations in thinking possibilities otherwise and sometimes true biological arousal pattern that gets calmed through labeling someone else when they are trying to refuse that. This could be a process of "Disowning" in themselves. DON'T TAKE IT PERSONALLY, WE DO THE SAME THING SOMETIMES OR IT IS THE NATURALLY HUMAN THING TO DO SOMETIMES (PS: Are we doing it now?). We may be doing it to ourselves by paralyzing ourselves over it too, as that is GIVING YOUR POWER AWAY to someone else- to say "they are doing that". We can't allow ourselves to do that. Live with it, just like you do with the sensations- expect little as one of the best coping mechanisms/strategies!!! But love much as the best strategy, to counter any irritation you may feel- as did not Christ say, "love casts out all fear"? BUT... for reasons, I am counting... this may be one reason I am writing ALL THIS. Please have them come to read it and "force them" to do it in all the good connotations that ("force them") come with that and throw out all the bad ones PLEASE.
Depression dwells too much on the past and is about thinking error process breakdowns, whereas Anxiety is on the opposite pole of worrying about imminent fears of/in the future with behaviorally incited errors in thinking, that come from physiological fear responses. You correct those through a program of positiveness in doing things you like and that are meaningful and wholesome. The first one is less impulsive/fear-based and therefore the solution of misperception can lay in the field of assessing/changing thought (cognitive therapy) and not endeavor (behavioral therapy). The second one is more impulsive toward fight or flight responses that hijack any thought resolutions. If it was discovered that thinking about your already ruminating thoughts to "find the answer" was found to work, you wouldn't HAVE the condition period! But ruminating just makes it worse!!!
Some calming activities to address the physiological response is "part of the Linden Method" if you read the pdf The Linden Manual, but it is to point out that physiological responses are best calmed BY diverting and distracting.
Diversion and Distraction - Doing Interesting Things In-The-Place-Of Rumination
Diversion and Distraction OR BETTER said- DOING INTERESTING THINGS CONSTANTLY INSTEAD: If it was found that diverting and distracting to other subjects all day and doing them (behavioral therapy) works to take the worry out of your life, wouldn't you do it?!?? Would you care the reason why? But I can tell you why? Your mind is broken. Your neural pathways involve thoughts and perceptions that by their very nature will lead to more impulsive fear-based thinking. It is a downward cycle. I talk a lot about the broken mind idea on my other ramblings on Quora. I really wanted to edit them as I kind of digressed some on there- thus this article is born here instead. I've attempted to do here with the idea of HOW fear works to incite more of the same, and how diversion/distraction or meaningful interests are the way to calm the mind- it creates the calm and provides the solution EVEN if you are FEELING sensations of panic/fear at times over on top of that. Just do it long enough and feel something interesting happen.
Do It Long Enough- a few days for most: If you do it long enough, the panicked feeling will change- some by a flip of a switch, some not as drastic. I was a little of the latter. But I think full compliance WITH no ruminations will be like a switch happened. I had a LOT of those "little" switches take place, enough to envision how a more radical and full one takes place IF you have FULL compliance. It is NOT easy, BUT ironically immediate small successes CAN provide enough teasers to have you "get it". Just try this thing, and you will FINALLY have some hope! I know... nobody understands. You will come with your first success to eventually realize HOW SUBTLE anxiety is and how humiliating it is... to realize... "My mind is Broken". I was there! I know! I feel! I empathize!
Success Story- Switches/Reversals that Instill Hope: I had a son on his mission. I knew he would not listen. He was headed in a week to go see the doctor to get on anxiety meds. I taught him about diverting and distracting and then promised him in the name of God and used my authority to bless him, and did this through an email, no less... that if he complied he would see a measure of success and feel it. He did what I asked... and exclaimed that it was the FIRST time he had ever felt anxiety-free his WHOLE mission. He had been on one for OVER A YEAR! That to me is so sad, that it was the FIRST time. He did report that he canceled his appointment. Now, it was not perfect, because on a mission you don't get to do all the pleasurable activities you could at home. But he did continue out his mission without meds.
So, does this work? YES!!! BUT it is if YOU WORK the program. That is the ONLY question. See all the testimonials.
TLM has us assess our habits because these are behaviorally rooted. And behaviorally positive intended activities repeated over and over crowds-out reactive based emotional thinking based anxieties. Which habit are we creating? Which wolf do you want to feed? We are benefited by the "the hands-on" approach of slowing things down, where the misperception fix can lay in the field of endeavor or Doing or Staying in the Healthy Here and Now and have it play "catch up" to an otherwise racing mind that is constantly thinking of a worst-case scenario otherwise. Slowing things down does not mean "staying in that moment where the trauma response is alive and well, but by distracting into the real world where joy, happiness, and healthy pleasure is and in doing things of interest- way better activities (as a habit) to engage yourself upon". By distracting and diverting in that way, the brain reactive physiology and thinking pathways associated with it, are and can be bypassed or changed/adapted to the new preoccupations of endeavor.
The Linden Method helps innoculate against future worry, by changing the worry anxiously hardwired brain to a non-anxiously engaged hardwired brain- behaviorally biologically changing the brain through implementing Diversion and Distraction activities of interest and engagement. It is the very antithesis of replacing bad with the good and having it be the cure! Dale Carnegie from "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" incites that the best program they adopted for PTSD war returning victims was the slogan they developed called "Keep em busy, keep em busy!" Because WHEN they did for long enough (a few days and weeks) their condition IMPROVED!
Beginning Anxiety vs Well Biologically Rooted Anxiety
The problem with the Exposure through Systematic Desensitization method is, that when anxiety has come to dominate a person's life, addressing it directly can be more like just stirring the poo and things do NOT get better, they can and often do get worse!
When I was a Child and Family Counselor fresh out of school, I could quite often attribute a mental diagnosis of "Adjustment Disorder" to many of those presenting with anxiety symptoms that were associated with something more immediate in their life that had taken place. For these conditions, a readily identifiable stressor in their life was very attributable. For instance a fresh move. Well, anyone that has undergone a move KNOWS how stressful it can be and especially for a kid. I believe that many anxiety conditions might be of this order. I'm not one to necessarily apply The Linden Method as a "one size fits all" method. BUT I can't deny that if it was applied to many of these people, perhaps... instead of talking about it so much, that perhaps, just perhaps The Linden Method could yield better results. I theorize that if a clinician/patient would address and talk about what is and has been stressful about things in the WAY OF NORMALIZING, it would/could be a very powerful inoculation against it festering to becoming a major full-blown up condition of anxiety that perpetuates into the rest of their life.
So, perhaps conditions that "just happened" or can be situationally ascribed or that a certain stressful event causes the anxiety, then by unearthing it, and resolving it, things can now heal and mend. If so, then exposure might therefore be necessary. I admit this has some appeal on the beginning outset for all anxiety disorders to try to address a perhaps fixable cause first if one can be found. After all, we only need to have had a sliver in our precious skin to understand how, it is only when you ‘get-it-out’ or resolve the source of the pain, that you can even now expect things to get better. Even “flooding” as another concept of “exposure” seems relevant in that it might take “more pain” upfront, in order to have less pain later on. Whether it is settling in our mind that we must be exposed to the very thing we are afraid of, in order to overcome that fear is used, one cannot deny that often the only way to beat fear in life, anxiety plagued or not, for that instant, is to confront it, after which much of the pain associated with it, can subside after swallowing the bitter pill, to begin with.
OK, let's presume talk therapy has been tried and the person is just not getting better. Here is where The Linden Method comes in. The Linden Method is equally challenging in that it also confronts the anxiety, designating its more corporeal nature of physical sensations to a "condition" one has that can be denied in the interest of "more interesting things to be up and doing" about. We safely ignore "real sensations". It takes a lot of courage and faith to "fake it till you make it" as well.
It is when more talking-about-it "therapy" is making things worse, then is when The Linden Method could really help and is often needed. At such a time, certain things work against "this new program". Hope is an incredibly powerful device against the fear! Indeed when fears seem resistant to cognitive interventions, a whole physiological compulsion of an anxiety state seems to respond best to a "change the tune" or "put on a different record" approach. For instance, why does laughter ease tensions better than anything else almost? It gets us "off ourselves" and onto a different perspective in a fun way! So, by changing things up, you ARE waging a much different kind of psychological warfare (see the 9 Pillars)- only this one is played against fear itself. It is a "what animal are you going to feed?" idea. It is very much a process of losing oneself in order to find oneself.
We will come to see that this new hope introduces the very real notion that you can get better with this program on your own, that when you "don't need" anyone else to get better, it empowers one to assert themselves in powerfully succinct ways through willful and willing enjoyments. This is particularly powerful against those whose interests have been eroded in life to re-enthrone personal power, to bring about a better condition in and by and with and for themselves.
Part of this different kind of psychological warfare is to stop seeing a counselor for your condition (See Pillar 1,5, 6 & 7). If you seem to think you "need" anything, this is seen as the psychological enemy to getting better. How else can one truly "fake it till you make it"? Sorry, to all you would be "you need me" effectual people. This could include a LOT of therapists that think the patient person is unable to get better on their own. After it has been discussed and it is not helping anymore, many therapists need to check their own egos at the door OR shall we say anxieties, if the client is trying to "get better on my own" and the therapist objects in any way. YES, it can be often their own anxiety that they are addressing, in that case. A case in point is Dale Carnegie's example used earlier of how they learned to treat returning soldiers exposed to atrocities of war who were diagnosed with PTSD- it was "Keep em busy, keep em busy"... not "Keep them talking, keep them talking". No, in fact, that WAS the problem (See Pillar 1,5, 6 & 7). Has anyone seen The Dream Team? In the end, by going out in society, "without the close supervision of a doctor", to experience that "they can do this on their own", it WAS THEN that the "patients" became "the doctors" who in an act of reversal, subscribed and put their own doctors on meds WHICH "made them" appear and look the same as they, the patients looked and did prior. THIS is just like THAT!!!
Also, remember how we started this article, about how we can assume that we all have this condition? "BUT it can be turned on TO BE JUST LIKE an anxiety sufferer, is the WHOLE POINT. It is BECAUSE we don't always manage emotion well in some situations or on some occasions. But then we find a way to turn that down and it subsides on its own. Anxiety suffers are the same, only they are not able to turn it off as easily or to some degree or another NOT AT ALL sometimes."
Anxiety is very subtle to deceive oneself! It is also virtually a given that almost every anxiety suffer will have already tried to directly address it through finding the cause and processing things cognitively and verbally. Well, once, twice, ten times is enough... and now... IF you can discern the subtle nature of anxiety, you will notice it tricking you into thinking "you've got this" when you don't! Sorry to say it, but if you really do think you have this, which applies to most of us "overthinkers", then "have at it"! But don't! This is how partial compliance takes shape when applying The Linden Method and not full compliance. Often what this will do is effectively keep a pilot light lit, as you think you can think your way out of through this "behavioral program" when it is about NOT THINKING "about it". In fact, Charles Linden wants people to read through it and be done.
So, just remember this analogy, anxiety is like working your wrench on a problem bolt on the other side of an area you can't see. But because you "think" you can feel the bolt and can put and "feel" your wrench secured on there, you then "believe" you've got this when you start turning the thing to "fix it". Only problem? When you "finally" are able to see up over the barrier letting you truly see things as they really are, you find out that the entire time your very tool, your very own wrench has a busted prong or side to it, only partially grappling it and creating some movement, but not enough... and this entire time instead of securing this bolt, you made LITTLE progress. THIS is the nature of anxiety and these other methods for "fixing it", you find out you are and HAVE BEEN spinning your wheels only BECAUSE it is your "broken worry mind/brain" that is the broken tool. Nay, stop thinking, feeling, and believing and start DOING by LIVING IN THE PRESENT ONLY. Do "that" long enough and you'll find a "fixed situation", a CURE on its way!!!
More often than not, the source of anxiety cannot be tracked to its origin, thereby negating the “Initial Pain” exposure hypothesis of “Exposure Therapy” thereby even being efficacious. Indeed, inside the Linden manual, it is this overarching and plaguing and vexing obsession for the anxiety victim to "NEED" TO RESOLVE it through stewing about it: whether it be to return to what caused it or just trying to prevent the worst-case scenarios for the future. This forms the whole basis of needing to rather: give up on that already, AS THE PROBLEM keeping it fueled!
Charles Linden addresses the pain inside anxiety with the word “sensations”, physical as they may be; increased respitory pulse and hyper-arousal are all part of this. He addresses the pain through a process not called “exposure” but WOULD HAVE anxiety victims address the pain or sensation, not through examining the source, but in “allowing” the sensations, NOT “avoiding” them while supplanting them with a different program. Charles Linden would say “allow them" [while practicing DOING OTHER INTERESTING THINGS]… stating that they never did any harm to anyone. Nobody dies of these sensations. This is an exposure method to some extent… but let’s get clear, it is not exposure therapy, but a reality-based acknowledgment that when you do have anxiety sensations, “one does not need to address them, but let them be, as in who cares, they can’t hurt you and have never hurt anyone- do not feed them or give them attention”.
IN OTHER WORDS: FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT!!!
With some it will be like turning a light on, the brain will no longer be an anxious one. With others, it might be more gradual, particularly as nobody stays completely 'out of their head' or it would be faster. It guarantees that with 100% adherence to the program, you will get a 100% cure!
Well, if you replace the worry with healthy activity, and if you reinforce it behaviorally at all times of day, IT FOLLOWS!!! One cognitive jaunt from Dale Carnegie's "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" book wants the anxiety sufferer to determine the ACTUAL percentage of likelihood, that that particular worst-case scenario would ever actually happen anyway? It is indeed almost NILL!!! Once it is quantified... the feared item loses its power... THEN to bring the person BACK to reality. So, minimizing and ‘getting away' from the feared item is not altogether unrealistic, thus ignoring sensations, even as the odds tally through better things in one's favor. Make "getting at it" your primary focus with cognition to solve worry, however, and you’ve done the opposite, given it “more power” than it had to begin with, in actual reality.
So to me, exposure therapy, whether through flooding or systematic desensitization, it is like the fisherman in the rocking boat trying to get bate onto the hook. Until he could get the boat steadied, he would only continue to be frustrated and getting nowhere, and in many cases... worse off. Pursuing MORE "talk therapy" for many people is like the rocking boat and IS that r-o-c-k-i-n-g boat. Ironically, DOING interesting things is steadying the boat SO the bait can be applied and the first sign of relieving anxiety is felt and the first and most very powerful juices of HOPE for the very first time get injected into all of their being, thinking, and doing. THIS WORKS! ...is what you can come away with within a few days, not weeks or months!!! Now, THAT is bating a hook or threading the fishing line that sets the hook and sets the stage for ALL subsequent successes and permanent brain changes to take place.
A small add-on for me is this. You can’t get happiness and its attendant interests by doing things that violate your conscience, so keep it clean, but do all those things that are pleasurable (if your married sex is one of the most effective things; or as Linden says get back to enjoying food, of course, your healthy diet) and right and good and wholesome and entertaining activities and the most important… interesting. Do this 24/7 and you will THRIVE!!! Try it and see! Remember my son, and in a matter of a few days, he was stating he’s NEVER had the anxiety leave him like this before. It is VERY often INSTANT relief. Nothing gets this many rave reviews unless something happened [https://www.thelindencentre.org/client-feedback/facebook-comments/]. Try it!!!
- The Golden Ticket inside TLM is not "running from something", but rather "running to something" with their replacement of meaningful interests! Making them meaningful overall is "running to something". Meaningful distractions are those filled with purpose, so avoid all the short-lived pre-occupations/fascinations over those with longer-lasting effects. However, in the short run of "mental health over anxiety"... "interest" is the greatest word in TLM vernacular of getting better. Charles really is not "about himself" when creating a program that he wants you to really digest once and throw away. It is because before/by that time, we are constantly running up against a psychological "why" we are doing what we do. It needs to become "YOU" not the diversionary "tactics" if that makes sense. When you are literally committed to the "well role", it is "the identity- YOU" and not "the sick role", you are literally investing "all of you" into the fight for greater life and esteem and betterment!
We should have plenty of forgetting inside doing the program OR better when we install an "every-half-hour-structure" to move the set point of fear automatically inside our context to be LESS, we need to plan/structure those things that guarantee not just immediate "rescuing", but plan for mid-term and long-term success not just... "I'm doing this so I won't be anxious", but what are my priorities that guarantee a MEANINGFUL life! While a season might exist UPFRONT where immediate gratification of interesting things is critical, one then needs to quickly implement strategic activities designed to also build service and meaningful life into it. Then derive as much joy and happiness as possible! Make those things pleasurable and interesting if at all possible. The quicker relief comes to those who can enjoy their work for example. After some initial success in now building of new interesting things, If planning is always only considering "how do I avoid being anxious", then we are thinking ONLY of running away from something.
TO BE TRUE, we NEED TO RUN FROM our own version of what hell is, which is NOT JUST what is creating/producing anxiety, but the undisciplined life, which is also a hell inside one's own conscience. So, to some degree, we are as normal "pinch me" strivers always running from something and some anxiety propels us to get the things done, we want to get done. So, use it and however play the role of a healthy you OR EVEN as Charles Linden recommends OF SOMEONE ELSE YOU ADMIRE AND INCORPORATE TRAITS YOU LIKE INTO YOUR OWN IDENTITY. I believe we "get there" much quicker WHEN transient interests or "just self-centered only" are not "just the thing".
So... interests are BEST maintained if they are meaningful to you, not just in the short run, but mid and long-term run. This means planning with your values in mind and having discipline in the matters of conscience, and the highest good must remain and be kept central pertaining to the one's best use of their time; even if some transient pleasures are pursued "in the short-run" if it takes "that", among the choices you have, to "get your brain starting to fly right".
But, build a TLM program with a life full of meaning, pleasure, and joy! Alternating pleasures are NOT all there are, as the most enduring antithesis of interest- discipline and joy are just as viable! One can take great pleasure in their kids, their work, their "whys" and their purpose. So, re-work your more meaningful plans [without analysis paralysis] and sore high!! Build a plan to succeed and re-plan your life as often as you need to keep it meaningful, not just pleasurable, and then those more transient pleasures will be replaced by daily pleasures of habits that make for good character.
- Prolong your ability to get better soon and sustain with The Linden Method when you secure the future and not just the immediate. See this "looking down the road" link to familiarize yourself with how looking at ONLY the immediate road in front of you represents FEAR, not relief. The analogy is powerful: You can't drive straight (you will drive crooked) if you only look at the immediate road in front of you only, and not a bit down the road "at something better". Realize that "more interesting activity" in the face of trauma that seems bound to repeat itself in your ruminating brain's habit, is not the only fear to conquer or from which to persist against with "experience the feeling and do it anyway" and have fear conquered eventually. Spiritual/mental fear regarding consequences entailing a less disciplined life, or guilty conscience or lack of discipline, can also bring fear back into one's life. The 'looking down the road' link tells from a spiritual account in the Bible of Peter who initially betook with all haste and ALL INTEREST to 'join Jesus on the water. "Peter, surely thrilled by the prospect, climbed out of the boat not into the water but onto the water. While he focused on the Savior, he could do the impossible, even walk on water. Initially, Peter was undeterred by the storm. But the “boisterous” wind eventually distracted him, and he lost his focus. The fear returned. Consequently, his faith diminished, and he began to sink. “He cried, saying, Lord, save me.” The Savior, who is always eager to save, reached out and lifted him up to safety."
- Think Habits: You will then need to make new anxious/interests habits to keep yourself busy and away from all the old worry patterns AND habits.
- Think of social anxiety as a bad habit that can be changed through repetition/exposure. Linden says in his manual, don't reinforce withdrawing from worthwhile social events by not going to those ones, get a friend to protect/go with you. "Get it" and thrive! And then you can put in all these new things in the place of it- the anxiety.
- You can’t think of two things at the same time... idea [but applying it constantly is the only way to find eventual relief]. Go for it!!! For me, it has made “the difference!"
- Get a lot of peaceful moments and pleasurable activities into your body's experiential nervous system. Exercise can release tensions as well as forms of relaxation- utilize both.
- When ReTelling/Experiencing is a Necessary/Part of Things: Sometimes, like a single person needing to re-tell trauma from a past relationship to every girl/guy he/she meets, it can re-hook you back into old traumas. Or perhaps situations or people could really empathize with you and provide the needed perspective. While we 'need' one another, resist these urges. Remember, one of the pillars of TLM is to quit rehashing/re-telling things with others. Here are some good guidelines to apply generally using the advice given to singles [so reinsert "date" with any other person you feel needs to know your drama traumas] in eventually "having to retell their stories" where often timing, not doing it early on is resisted (as taken from "Intentional Courtship, A Mid-Singles Guide...", by Jeff & Cathy Teichert):
"Do not look at your date as another person to unload your story on, even if he or she is willing or starts the conversation. To put your divorce in perspective, you need to be actively engaged in personal healing and development---and that includes letting go of the labels you put on your former spouse and developing a deeper level of personal insight and relationship competence. If you literally cannot go on a first date without having your former spouse dominate the conversation, you are not ready to date yet. If it has been years since your divorce and you are still stuck re-telling your divorce story to anyone who will listen, counseling can help." And... "A first date should be about experiencing one another and having fun---not interrogating each other for 'red flags' and having a heavy conversation about fear and trauma." And... "What matters most is not what mistakes your partner has made, but what they have learned from them and how they have grown. So much depends on whether there has been a 'mighty change of heart (Alam 5:14). You cannot discover those things from a series of canned 'red flag' questions." And... "...what should you do if your partner begins asking 'red flag' questions during a first date... I recommend...: 'I can understand your curiosity and maybe we can have a longer conversation about this after we've been together a few more times. But right now I just want to focus on getting to know each other. Can we do that?'"
- Desensitizing Experience from Judgers/Authority Figures/ Potential Abusers: It is revealing that while TLM does not say a lot about how to overcome "triggers" which puts us back to "retelling" or "re-experiencing", it is long-standing that the power of them fades over time. When it comes to people's intent being behind "their ability" to harm you again, the best thing I ever heard was in a two brief therapy sessions experience.
I was first inducted to "what mindfulness is". He took me on an imaginary trip around the office buildings and what did I notice? He then took me on it again and called my attention to several things I missed. He wanted me -and it was quite convincing as a paradoxical effect ensued, when he wanted me- to consider that my judgers were fallible. He was siding with me in a BLUNT way however that was not letting ME OFF THE HOOK. Why could I not see that they also might be in need of the Lord's mercy in that thing (or anything) they are "in-bent" against me on? "They, or the authority figure (social phobia) that we fear being scrutinized by, is ALSO along his/her own path of imperfection and overcoming those things. As such, they are not as in authority as we had so supposed, but are "just like us" as fallible and in need of mercy. After all, IF we will EXPERIENCE THEM THAT WAY- AS FALLIBLE AS US HUMAN BEINGS AND IN NEED OF THAT MEASURE OF GRACE, THAT then lets ourselves devalue [or rather depotentiate] their judgment. We can't consider their judgment as all-consuming anyway WHEN ONLY GOD KNOWS "ALL" THINGS.Forgiving and giving grace does not mean we don't set up provisions to make sure we are not abused again. However, then, if forgiveness, tolerance, and grace WOULD persist, an even higher more evolved, and mature state of mind is needed- being grateful along life's journey! And it does not come easy!!! But rather to continue on in it, to fear in this way... can be akin to "complaining"... in life instead of 'getting on'". Could this be a change element you also need to "come-to", realize, feast on, take-on-inside-the-role-of, in order to fully embrace the anxiety-free life?!!!
- Another incredibly liberating skill about suffering [anxiety] is... if we let it humble us and if we suffer it in God, we wait upon Him for answers and clarity for our lives. This view has us embrace some of this suffering rather than running from it all the time. And many anxiety approaches DO advocate a paradoxical effect, that the moment we quit resisting, so much, our symptoms and negative sensations, almost immediately there is a measure of relief that can come. One view is to accept your worst-case scenario, singular, that we'd still be OK.
A personal experience reminds me of one time- when I did think I had sufficient faith to ask someone who I believed could heal me of my anxiety with the power of God. In fact, I believe I heard the word of faith AND direction from someone, where I felt a personal impression that I could be healed. My friend with the power of God in toe, when I asked him to heal me, he was impressed to rather bless me with the strength to deal with it. This taught me that BOTH are true, that I could have been healed, I DID think and feel it was an inspired course. But to be at a place where you DO FEEL as though you DO HAVE faith enough to be healed, DOES put you in a better place ALSO to have the faith to stick it out longer and to find other ways to overcome it. I trusted in God and believe that this has been more refining and even better. And that is saying a LOT. I do not think I could have ever come to feel God helping lighten my burdens and visiting me in my trials without this. So, suffering this on a spiritual level does refine us and help us to grow in no other way. However, the way we chose to learn from our suffering or not, can elevate our character or make it worse. Patience, that grand Millenial virtue is required. We can grow bitter and heard-hearted or mailable and creative and closer to God.
Brene Brown, in her book on the Gifts of Imperfection: 'We can only love others as much as we love ourselves... our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance; so, loving and accepting ourselves are the ultimate acts of courage.' Or we will receive the measure of mercy we extend to others. So if we can give our former spouse or enemy grace, it will be easier to give ourselves grace. This decreases our anxiety and helps us to better deal with and overcome it. It does take a tenacious commitment and is not for the faint of heart.
- If one can think of ways in which they have never seen themselves before- so take on a role, envision it, and feel it! Perhaps it is another person to make it more life-like AND accomplishable by you, the one closest to the version of your GREATER SELF. I have eventually realized that this is really what Charles Linden (TLM founder) MEANT when he encourages a person to think of a favorite Hollywood actor they can 'be like". Taking on the role, the livelihood, the persona, the epitome, the caricature, the idealism, and the fundamental realism of a non-anxious person is what he is talking about. Linden would encourage one to dream big in their hopes (and this is the very thought suggestion you need), that one can literally defy this piddly anxious version of themselves. Grow into your true potential as an eventual God. We are all Gods in embryo! CS Lewis said it best:
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”
The 9 Pillars of the Linden Method- Basic outline and some notes
1) Stop Going to Doctors or Other People. (more)Play the part of an actor, the part of the non-anxious you- pretend you are someone else every morning when you wake up.
2) Stop your Medications [carefully and only under the supervision of your doctor]. (more)Basically, try to get rid of any labels or any other thing that reminds you that you are ill. So you need to eliminate all reminders that you are ill or have been, etc.
3) Stop Researching your Condition. (more)Just once is once too often. Adopt the behavior of those that don't have an anxiety disorder- recovered sufferers go out and go on with their lives. When "sick", it is a disorder of itself, you are practicing being anxious- the internet is the worst for this. Non-anxious people are out there doing the opposite. If you want to learn to be anxious, where do you go? You go to the non-anxious normal world and adopt their behaviors. So, similarly, eliminate any "appearance" of anxiety as much as possible.
4) Only Follow This Method. (more)Don't confuse your brain; you can confuse the signals; can't use them with other therapies. The Linden Method contains absolutely everything you will need to make a full recovery, so don't confuse the signals. Charles guarantees, "If you do it correctly, I promise you that you will become completely symptom-free".
5) Stop Talking About Your Condition. (more)The cure is done through repetition, and NOT in talking about it, and your anxiety. Or stop reminding others about your anxious, bad day, or good day. Stop any code messages to speak about it to those around you. Give the support line a call at The Linden method if you need some help. If you talk about how you feel, your symptoms, behaviors, etc; you almost program yourself to become anxious. STOP NOW!
6) Stop Leaning on Other People. (more)You send an unconscious message to your brain that you are weak. WHEN you rely on other people, you may feel weak, but you are NOT weak, you're actually very strong! We often get so used to having other people helping us that we do not recognize that I’m getting other people doing for me things that I’m capable of doing for myself, which is giving away “the carrot”, my control, and my confidence. Taking responsibility is the fast track to be anxiety-free.
7) Don’t hold onto memories of your condition. (more)Play the part of you as the non-anxious person or way and it will become you. Role-playing that you're are someone else… and it will become you! Put DO replace good memories in areas/places where you might have not had a good experience before. By avoiding those situations you’re reminding yourself subconsciously that you can’t do those things. Start making new memories and start to create a positive one, that we can almost blank out the negative ones.
8) Divert Your Mind. (more)Force your subconscious mind to experience an environment of recovery; an environment where your amygdala says oh, wait a minute I'm not anxious anymore because there is nothing in my environment to be anxious about! Make it your new habit. A very healthy habit. Diversion, distraction. Because it is a human preset to get on with your life. The things you do as a default, you have to get back to, like eating, drinking, sleeping, etc. Create a structure every day to drive the anxiety out. It means you can drive out anxious behaviors every day. REPLACING with non-anxious habits. When we put only a little bit of effort into it anything in life, success won’t occur. Put the energy into it that you’re going to expect it to occur. You’re not going to create one big diversion that is going to blow your anxiety out of the water, this is not going to occur. You have to use a collection of diversions that will allow you to become effective. Don’t choose things you think will work instead of doing what you enjoy. Needs to be personal to you, what you enjoy. Not asking you to be diverted every minute of every day. With media/TV, only as you are interested in what you’re viewing, so keep it interest-based only and focused and balanced.
9) Stop Accommodating Your Anxiety. (more)Every second that you give in to your anxiety, the symptoms, sensations, and thoughts, you're empowering it. Every time you give in you send a very very strong message to your subconscious mind, saying actually ya anxiety has got the power to change my life. It can dictate to me. And as soon as you reach that conclusion, you give it all the power it needs to completely envelop your life, to dominate you, in every way. Agoraphobia is a perfect example of this, you limit your geographic location and movements because of your anxiety and your world becomes smaller and smaller until eventually, you don't go anywhere at all. So, stop accommodating the anxiety because it is completely powerless. Yes, it produces some symptoms and thoughts and sensations that are unpleasant and sometimes quite severe, but ultimately they are there to protect you, not to harm you in any way. Conclusion, breath, realization- SO STOP ACCOMMODATING THEM, stop accommodating those fears. Charles says, "I promise you if you do so, if you stop fearing it, and start enjoying your life and getting out in the world, instead of allowing it to dominate where you go and what you do, you will overcome it all the quicker, and permanently. That is an absolute definite."
Now, stop messing around and listen to the Shaman himself, it is the only way to get FULL BELIEF enough TO DO IT: Charles Linden and plug into the program, and under 1-2 hours you'll have his cure down pat here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1pi3Iaa1ABGfGxgUnLKTDMLFjoc0_bBPs?usp=sharing