i have been on the road and this morning i am two hours away from f2fb friend #314 mr. anonymous. well, i don’t actually know that he wants to be anonymous but we’ve been corresponding since the first of the year and everything he’s written suggests that he is worried about publicly confessing to having disabling panic attacks and agoraphobia.
i find this weird, maybe because the past year and a half i have been chronicling everything i have been doing — including those white wine “i feel rejected” benders, the fraught relations with my biological father, the crying jags, the strange and bewildering consequences of youthful tragedies. but also, i find mr. anonymous f2fb friend #314’s concern about being “outed” as weird because i read tmz.com, radaronline.com, and pagesix.com online every morning.
and i am treated to celebrities confessing to spousal abuse, eating disorders, gambling problems, pill popping, alcoholism, infidelity, sex with minors, sex with family members, sex with . . . whoever happens to be around, being gay, being a man in a woman’s body, being a woman in a man’s body, having a penchant for hookers, dressing up in the wife’s clothes, shoplifting for the joy of it, anger management issues (also known as acting like a damn three year old), and the ever popular exhaustion and dehydration.
vanessa williams just released the book "you have no idea" and it reveals that she was molested as a ten year old by an eighteen year old woman, that she was "highly sexualized" as a teen, that she had an abortion when she was nineteen, and that she trusted a photographer who wanted to do some "art" shots of her. by her own description, she went from the cab to naked with a dog collar in less than an hour. those pictures were printed in penthouse and caused her resignation as 1983 miss america. she's bounced back. but there's a lot of 'fessing up she's doing with this book.
i have nothing against the self-disclosures. i think it’s healthy. but why can’t someone come right out and say “look, i’m an agoraphobic.” mr. #314 can manage a few miles radius around his house on a somewhat erratic basis. but by and large, he’s housebound. and doctors have done a lot of damage with the usual run of sedatives, antidepressants, etc. that only seem to make things worse. and it is worse than it was when we first started corresponding. his wife is throwing in the towel. the support systems are crumbling. several times over the past months, we’ve attempted to set up a time to see each other just so i can learn from him and maybe share my experiences with him. yesterday, he emailed me to say “i can’t. i’m too nervous about the prospect of meeting you” i said please don’t cancel because i have a present for you.
and i do. it’s not a toy, a piece from tiffany’s (i always like those!) or a starbuck’s gift card. it’s a phone app.
many people with anxiety and agoraphobia rely on facebook, email and cell phones to keep up with family and friends. one facebook friend who is housebound calls her mother at work. her mother leaves her cell phone on and lets her daughter "be" with her during her work day. my facebook friend calls it "having mom let me be in her pocket". . .
with a facebook friend from los angeles, i have been developing a phone app to help agoraphobics and those with social anxieties. it’s not biofeedback. it’s not guided meditation. it’s not haranguing, although i do a great harangue. just ask my sons. instead, it’s a companion who will walk with you out the door, to the sidewalk and beyond. and it’s based on my firm belief that therapy makes you dependent on therapy, drugs make you dependent on drugs. YOU are the only one who is completely invested in getting yourself the terrific life you deserve.
the app is my present to mr. #314.
my question to you: would you want that app?
and please, wish me luck. i last wrote to him that i would be at his house. i would knock on the door. if he was too nervous to answer the door i’d wait for a while. but at least i will try.