Anxiety disorders are sweeping the Globe. I asked anxiety expert, Charles Linden, to explain why.

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Anxiety disorders are sweeping the Globe. I asked anxiety expert, Charles Linden, to explain why.

by Charles Linden - Linden Tree Education , Dec 05, 2021

Charles sent me this statement in an email; this was the email that prompted this interview and words everyone needs to read.

“The world is now in the grips of a mutated genetics pandemic. We must act fast to prevent catastrophe. Pandemic induced fear disorder has activated a departure from acceptable human social development… a Pandora’s Box of changes that will affect future generations forever.” Charles Linden

The gift of neurodiversity, anxiety disorder and a career that Charles neither planned nor expected, has provided him with, what I truly believe to be, a unique perspective on life, the world, the emotions and humanity; his comments and insight is profound and for three hours, I was spellbound by his knowledge and passion for helping others.

I asked Charles to tell me how he reached this point in his career.

“Chris, in 1996, contrary to what that psychiatrist predicted, I recovered. I recovered without medication, psychology, counselling or any other intervention; I recovered despite them, against their advice and prognosis and entirely because I stopped believing ‘their science’ and discovered ‘the real science. Since 1997, I have personally helped thousands of sufferers to find wellness, recovery and happy fulfilling lives and have set up an organization that meets every expectation for the provision of education, psycho-education and coaching.”

Charles’ story is truly unique in so many ways. Nearly two years after the first cases of Coronavirus were announced in the media and after Charles’ constant warnings about the resultant, catastrophic activation of a further reaching pandemic, health services are grappling to provide support for the, now massively increased, numbers of people suffering from those very same conditions.

I asked Charles to provide his take on the Covid pandemic and his response was surprising.

Charles said “OK, we’re not stacking bodies in the street, but the resultant catastrophe has never been experienced before and its science is eluding, or being ignored by, those who provide associated services; I don’t know which it is, but I suspect much of the problem lies in a global misunderstanding of the true nature of the science. The global response to the Covid Event, as I prefer to call it, has been the source of a spanner in the cogs of my mind, a mind that deals in black and white, which responds very badly to statements which directly conflict with evidence. No matter which way I tilt my head, everything looks and feels very wrong.”

Charles’ mannerisms are reassuring, no matter what he tells you, you get a sense that he can’t lie or manipulate the truth but that he moderates his responses for his audience. He chooses his words wisely, often pausing to assess what he has said and underlining his words with a reassuring look which, I discovered, is exactly what 1000s of his clients say about him, many referring to his ability to calm them in seconds.

Charles’ Anxiety Recovery Retreats, which he founded in 2009, are visited by people from all around the world and the client feedback about Charles and his team echo what I hear in Charles’ voice; a sense that it’ll all be OK.

I asked Charles where he thought the Covid situation would end.

“I guess you would say that I am relatively uniquely placed to comment, and that doesn’t mean, necessarily, that I am entirely correct, in fact, I’d love nothing more than to be entirely wrong; not wrong in my colloquialisation of, what would normally be, a verbose barrage of technical psycho-babble, but wrong about the outcome, namely the socio-economic, sociological, genetic and developmental impact of the event and every facet of the predominant experience. Imagine the scenario… mental health services are experiencing a decade long increase in mental health suffering, especially in the young, but they don’t know why.”

I was disturbed by his last statement, so I asked Charles “what do you mean by ‘they don’t know why’ Charles?”

Look, health and mental health services are bursting at the seams, trying to cope with an ever-increasing number of patients; and that’s breaking their business model. The incoming and outgoing patient body is no longer consistent and manageable; more are coming in than can leave and services struggle as the young leave child services as adult services aren’t coping with the increased incoming load. Kids are suffering in massively higher numbers post Covid and what I see terrifies me. The bottle neck isn’t just filled; it’s burst open. You only have to sit where we sit every day to see the devastation it causes; and we live in a country that provides free healthcare, imagine how the same scenario plays out in third world countries or countries that rely heavily on private provisions. And it’s all down to not referencing the science of around 95% of all categorised mental health conditions.”

So Charles, do you think it’s all due to stress, increasing debt, trauma or social media or the increasing pressures of modern life?

“Until March 2020, all of these have been the constant focus of research and service provision. The blame game has always focused on societal interactions and experiences and whilst can often be identified as catalysts; but they are not the cause.“

Intrigued by this catalyst or cause comment I asked Charles: So is it because ‘talking’ is difficult for some people and is that all because of sociological factors, access to care or sociological expectations to suppressing emotions?

Charles’ response was shocking. “No, it’s none of those in fact, it’s entirely due to a genetically programmed conflict between human social and physical evolution, activated by a world that places data and commerce before science and wellbeing; that has ignored the epigenetic train-crash that we have all watched happening in slow motion over the last 4 decades; albeit for most people, without even vague awareness of its presence. Providing services that attempt to identify and address these catalysts as the cause of these disorders is like blaming Cadburys for obesity; sure, they provide the delicious chocolatey bullet, but the consumer pulls the trigger. 

How do you see this all so clearly Charles? I’ve never heard it positioned like this before and as someone who had anxiety, I am truly stunned by your statements; in a good way though, this makes so much sense.

“ Chris, when you see the world from a position of sustained hyper-vigilance; when your mind is processing the resultant incoming neurological data into one black and one white silo of evidence, when you spend 22 years in fear response and 25 years meeting with and understanding thousands of people who provide their data and experiences, you’re pretty well placed to recognise and respond. My staff lives this daily; which is why they are incredible and have saved many lives where others have failed. Seeing the truth behind words isn’t something you can learn from a book, it can only come from asking the right questions, eliciting the correct responses and using that data to ‘get behind’ the words in a way that no educational process on earth can prepare you for.”

So what you are saying is that any event like Covid19 can give rise to this kind of catastrophic outcome. “Yes. When you see a post event rise in emotional suffering, it’s expected. Talk Radio recently asked me to talk about post 911 anxiety and the impact of the twin towers event on the people who were at ground zero on that day. During that interview, it struck me how my responses were steered by the science of the emotions, but how I had to modify my comments in order to not cause conflict between scientific truth and widely accepted beliefs around trauma, loss, grief, post-traumatic stress disorder and social acceptance.”

I absolutely understood what Charles was saying but had never considered this position before. Everyone in the media feels compelled to agree, to conform and meet expectations even, often, at the expense of truth.

Charles went on to explain “In trauma or grief, it is vital for the wellbeing of the subject, that they receive science-based, practical, easy to follow, coaching in order to manoeuvre them and manipulate their physiology in order to create fast and real recovery – but that is, for some,  socially unacceptable… suffering, to many, is considered necessary; anything less than emotional decline would imply lack of love or respect despite it flying in the face of science and what would be far, far easier and more pleasant for the subject.”

Charles was so right. I had experienced social criticism so any times during my life but had never considered how invasive or even disastrous that could be. Surely it is better to be ‘well’ because you can be, rather than unwell due to commercial bias, social acceptability or ignorance?

Charles often makes reference to his Attention Deficit Disorder and neurodiversity as a driving force in his life: “Perhaps it’s my neurodiversity speaking, but the logic of unnecessary suffering evades and offends me. This elevated post-pandemic mental health pandemic is neither a pandemic, nor is it a mental health matter. Nothing is ‘wrong’ in most of the affected minds. Nothing is wrong in their bodies either; but, they are told the exact opposite by psychology and medicine. Anxiety conditions including generalised anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, health anxiety, eating disorders, emetophobia, self-harm, panic disorder and more aren’t about faulty thinking, fear, vulnerability or weakness. They’re not about a person’s relationship with food, geographic location or about vulnerability to infection or illness. They’re entirely about fear, or more specifically, the inappropriate activation of it.”

So, what happened since March 2020 I asked him. “The Covid Event gave rise to a sudden, unexpected and high-level exposure to, what was positioned as, a plague, followed by corroborating media and social media campaigns. The effect of this experience was three critical biological responses. 1. Exacerbation of existing fear disorders in those who had already been activated. 2. Activation of fear disorder in the vast majority of those predisposed to suffering. (It was probably as much of a shock to them as to their families) 3. Activation of biological responses that can and probably will be, passed on genetically to future generations.”

So you’re saying that fear isn’t the problem here Charles; you’re saying it’s much deeper than that, a problem of genetics. “There had been millions of people ‘waiting in the wings’ so to speak; most unaware of their predisposition to suffering from these conditions, who were suddenly activated within weeks of March 2020. This gives rise to a sudden massively inflated caseload for the NHS and private practice but most vitally, this happened at a time when those services were wearing a giant facemask and limiting access to care in the most catastrophic way, but also, the isolation and restrictions gave rise to a sudden and neurologically influential requirement to limit social interaction; the net effect of this powerful formula was to create people of all ages, including the so called Covid Babies and infants, who became instantly phobic of such interactions and geographic freedom and are now struggling to function socially, emotionally appropriately or, indeed, as they get older, on any level. To call this a pandemic would be so wrong, it’s a total departure from human evolution; the kind of evolution that allows time and social and environmental change to conspire in a good way to adjust the human blueprint gradually and mostly unnoticed.”

I asked Charles whether there is anything that can be done to avert this evolutionary catastrophe. “Unless the correct science is used to defuse this genetic time-bomb, the future of all these people and all of their social, work and leisure interactions and achievements will be significantly, no, in fact, catastrophically, reduced. Their ability to function at full capacity and to maintain physical and mental wellness will be compromised. Their need for care will put strain on service provisions. They may be told, like I was, that they will always need support, medication and therapeutic intervention. They will probably become a burden on society, healthcare, education and their families.”

But we’ve seen conflict and trauma many times throughout history Charles, is this different? “Post-war Britain saw many people return home with shell-shock, what we now call PTSD, but they were a relatively small number when you consider the millions who fought and survived; but humans were, genetically, quite different 70 years ago; I would estimate that the predisposition was only present in around 10% of all people back then. Pre March 2020, I would estimate that around 40% were predisposed; now it’s around 60-70% and in the future, that number will rise significantly, maybe, even to 100%. I spoke with a number of schools in 2019 which all stated very clearly that around 45-50% of their pupils experienced anxiety in that year. I spoke to one of those schools again, just this week, and the new estimate is 80-90%. That’s a catastrophe. Vitally though Chris, the situation can be rescued. All it would take is for those who genuinely care, those who want to take swift, dramatic action and those with the reach, to understand the science and address it head on with the antidote.”

So, how is what you do different Charles? What is it you do that others don’t? “For 25 years, myself, my wife and our team of mental health professionals have worked so hard to take psycho-educational services from its place of hiding within the NHS stepped care model and elevate its practical implementation and extraordinary level of efficacy to the place it deserves at the coalface of service provision. Every school, police station, military base, university, healthcare and mental healthcare provision should have trained recovery practitioners in place; people trained to understand and respond to fear disorders. People who know what to do from first-aid through to full and lifelong recovery. It’s a dream that can quickly become a life-changing, life-saving reality – a vital step for pulling the genetic deviation back into line before my nightmare scenario comes to full fruition. My team has spent 20 months helping our existing client base, but also helping to keep anxious key workers in work whilst providing them with a simple, actionable plan to remove their fear disorders. I have personally helped 1000s of people since March 2020. Through lockdown via Zoom. In person post-lockdown at our Retreats, on Zoom and in person. If anxious people around the world don’t receive recovery instruction, we face a future in which every family will be dealing with the catastrophic impact of fear disorder and the heart-breaking experiences it brings with it.”

Charles, thank you so much for your time today and a truly enlightening glimpse at your life and what you do; do you have any last words for people suffering from anxiety conditions? 

“Yes, take it from a 53 year old ex-sufferer; what could happen is not a world that anyone will enjoy or thrive in, it’s not a future I want for my children or grandchildren; but it’s a preventable future and one I hope that those with influence will help me to create.”

Chris Lee

Charles Linden is director of Linden Tree Education and Anxiety Recovery Retreats.

Online recovery programs can be viewed here

Residential Retreat programs can be viewed here

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