There are a few resources which have helped me to effectively deal with my anxiety and panic attacks. These resources are The Linden Method, Dr Claire Weekes, Barry Mcdonagh and Paul David.
I’ll now explain what these resources are and how they helped me.
Internal Acceptance of my anxiety
This approach completely changed the way I responded to my anxiety. I was always at war with it, trying to mentally push it away or escape from it. As you may know by now, this approach only seems to empower the anxiety. What we resist, persists.
The truth is, however, a paradoxically “healing” experience happens when we stop fighting the anxiety and completely allow it to be, as it is, without wishing to escape from it or change it. This, I know, sounds very strange to most people. What do you mean accept it? How could I accept something which has been plaguing my existence for so long? I get it, I would think the exact same thing if I hadn’t applied this approach.
Please understand that this type of acceptance isn’t that giving in, defeatist type mentality where you accept a life of anxious suffering. This is nothing like that. The acceptance approach I’m talking about is learning to give up the fight with our anxiety. It is very empowering!
Making any attempt to mentally reason, escape or fight off anxiety will only serve to perpetuate it.
This approach definitely played a massive contribution towards my recovery. It helped me to implement the Linden Method easier. This is why when people ask me what they recommend for anxiety and panic I always say The Linden Method and Inner Acceptance.
The resources which promote the inner acceptance approach are authors such as Dr Claire Weekes, Barry Mcdonagh and Paul David.
Here are a few books from the authors I’ve mentioned above:
- Hope and Help For Your Nerves by Dr Claire Weekes
- DARE: The New Way to End Anxiety And Stop Panic Attacks by Barry Mcdonagh
- At Last a Life By Paul David
- At Last a Life And Beyond by Paul David
The Linden Method Anxiety Recovery Program by Charles Linden
What is The Linden Method?
The Linden Method is an anxiety elimination program which focuses on dealing with the culprit responsible for the development of these emotional disorders. The culprit being the amygdala which is a small pair of almond shaped organs in the brain which job it is to regulate anxiety levels.
What determines our anxiety levels from either rising or dropping down to a normal level is how we respond to our anxiety and what behaviours we carry out. If we respond to our anxiety with more fear, then we will keep the anxiety levels stuck at a high level. If we carry out anxious behaviours, then the amygdala will make a decision to keep the anxiety benchmark level high.
In a nutshell, it promotes the idea that we can overcome our anxiety by changing our behaviours.
Why is The Linden Method different from other therapies or programs?
It’s different because it is unique. It focuses solely on recovery rather than on anxiety management techniques. Instead of focusing on what may have caused your anxiety or allocating blame, it goes straight to the root cause and through a structured process, allows recovery to naturally happen over time. It’s the only online therapy that offers accredited coaching and it been showing people away out of their anxieties for over 22 years.
This program doesn’t believe we should focus on the anxiety because focusing on anxiety only magnifies the problem.
I am an accredited anxiety recovery coach for this organisation and use this program in my practice. Find out more here.
A combination of acceptance and The Linden Method really helped to heal myself from anxiety and panic. This is what the content of this blog will be focused on.
Here’s what didn’t help me
Whenever I talked about my anxiety, it made me feel a lot worse. Okay, at the time during a talking therapy session it felt reassuring to know it was just anxiety but after the sessions I came away feeling just as bad as I did before I had them. I now understand why I felt worse and that’s because every time we talk about how we are feeling, we are giving the anxiety more power. In essence, we are reminding ourselves of what we’re trying to forget.
Jumping straight into the deep end certainly didn’t help me overcome my anxiety. To anyone who is suffering from severe anxiety, I would never recommend putting yourself in situations which make you panic, especially when you’re in really high anxiety. Our brains are going to be highly sensitised at this point so anything we do to create extra panic just isn’t worth it.
I always advocate the “baby steps” philosophy. I believe this is the most sensible and comfortable way to move out into the world and face situations which scare you. The beauty of taking baby steps is that it allows you to build huge momentum and a natural return in confidence levels.
If, for example. you haven’t left the house for a while, it would be silly to assume you can travel on an air plane to another country wouldn’t it? Start really small, start in the shallow end. If that means just walking to the end of your road then that is perfectly okay.
If you are suffering from social anxiety and have made avoiding people into a habit, instead of putting yourself out there in big overwhelming situations, start by texting a friend, then when you feel ready, phone her/him. Eventually as your anxiety levels come down through understanding, acceptance, changing behaviours, a shift in perspective, then you will feel inspired and more confident to do a little more.
The next stage could be to go for a short walk with your friend or invite them round your house for a get together. Do you see how giving yourself plenty of time with baby steps can help you swim your way into the deep end in a smooth and steady manner, without jumping head first into it?
The point is to slowly, at a level you’re comfortable with, reintroduce yourself to the world again. To the places and situations you would normally be in but haven’t because of anxiety.
In all honesty medication made me feel like a zombie. I didn’t take it for long but whenever I did take it, I experienced some horrible and scary side-effects. I’ve been brought up to always rely on natural approaches when it comes to mental and/or physical ailments. Naturally, taking medication made me feel weak because I was relying on something to make me feel better.
EFT stands for emotional freedom technique, also known as tapping. This is when a person taps certain parts of your body in order to relieve the anxiety. Does it relieve anxiety? I certainly didn’t in my experience. When I look back on it now, it seems rather silly, but we live and learn as the saying goes.
I sat in a shed with a hypnotherapist for an hour. He guided me through a visualisation exercise accompanied by peaceful music. Trying to relax when one is suffering from high anxiety is such a challenging task. The more we try to relax, the harder things get. This brings about frustration and naturally increases anxiety levels.
He also gave me a couple of sheets of paper. The part about avoiding certain foods was helpful. One of the other bits of paper included positive affirmations. These were to be mentally practiced to counteract negative thoughts. From my experience, this was exhausting and mentally draining. I would practice these positive affirmations with great effort, trying so hard to mentally stop negative thoughts from arising. I also now know that this is a futile exercise.
It’s a massive waste of time. The more we try and stop negative thoughts from popping up, the more likely it is that we’ll experience them.
Spiritual healing therapy
While this was a pleasant experience, it did nothing to help with my anxiety.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy didn’t help me to be honest. I’m talking about the old school (outdated) style of CBT. The old school approach involves changing your thoughts in order to influence your emotional responses but our emotional responses are stored in the automatic part of the brain so this process doesn’t work.
The only reason I tried these therapies is because I was promised they would help me put a stop to my anxiety disorder. For the ones which actually sound ridiculous, (no offence tapping) they were done out of sheer desperation as this is what happens when a person is suffering from severe anxiety. You just try whatever is available, even if that thing makes you feel worse.