dr. drew, we’d like a house call please. oh, no, we’ll just take care of it ourselves!

a few months ago i was on the dr. drew show.  i was asked to talk about my new years resolution to meet all of my 325 facebook friends.  it was a resolution i made at the beginning of 2011 and i fulfilled it.  this year, i’ve expanded it to include facebook friends i’ve met since then!

i don’t watch a lot of television so when the producer from dr. drew called, i kept visualizing dr. phil who is a protege of oprah. then when dr. drew was described to me, i got him confused with anderson cooper. really, they should have baseball cards for television dudes.


i dutifully arrived at the chicago cnn studio at eight o’clock on a friday night.  there were exactly two people in the office — and eight desks.  it’s really that small.  the cameraman hooked me up to a microphone up under my dress and a n earpiece up under my sleeve.  with the earpiece i could hear the show being taped in los angeles.  in front of me was a camera.  behind me was a fake skyline of chicago to make it look like i was in front of a window.

i don’t wear a lot of makeup except mascara and i can out-kardashian anybody on that black stuff. but the makeup/hair lady for dr. drew really shellaced me to get the “natural” look. then she chastised me for touching my face or hair.


i was seated there for an hour and a half while dr. drew taped segments and took breaks and did whatever.  i could hear everything because of my earpiece.  couldn’t see anything because the only thing in front of me was a black camera lens.

and i got antsy.  i got nervous.  i wanted out.  i felt trapped, like the microphone and earpiece wires were chains.  like my skin was on fire.  like my lungs were collapsing.  the hives were so red they showed through the inches thick makeup.  the cameraman and makeup artist knew each other and were gossiping in the hall.  but i was told to stay in my seat.  i thought. . .


and i sort of understand something about people with agoraphobia that other people might not understand:  there is no understanding by the medical community about how to treat this stuff.  we don’t have house calls from doctors.  we don’t have social workers who will really commit to treating progressively from phone calls to house calls, to guided visits.  we have family who says “why don’t you just try harder?”  we have friends who can’t understand what the difference is between the safety of the house and the complete terrifying chaos of the sidewalk.

that’s why a lot of agoraphobics, such as myself, are self treated.  i decided, win or lose, anxiety attack or not, disaster or success,  i would meet all three hundred twenty five of my facebook friends.  cured?  hardly.  i have my days.  i have my weeks.

one of my facebook friends, brandon, lives in los angeles and went through a period of complete agoraphobia.  he understands.  and together, we’ve got something to help out our fellow survivors.

if you are an agoraphobic, someone with panic attacks, or someone who is familiar with someone of this nature, what would you like to see to help???

bestest, arlynn

p.s. i didn’t have a heart attack on the dr. drew show.  i don’t think i was on the show for more than thirty seconds.  the “expert” guest said that my facebook adventure was “dangerous” because people with panic attacks should rely on a professional.  by that time at night, my opinion of professionals was . . . oh, shoot, i shouldn’t use bad words, should i?


15 responses to “dr. drew, we’d like a house call please. oh, no, we’ll just take care of it ourselves!

  • Molly Cunningham-Parshall

    Hey that girl is me… I went to the park :).

  • howardlovelyjr

    That bit about cutting your grass was too funny Arlynn….!!!!
    I aint cuttin your grass Woman….!!!! Ha!…Ha!…Ha! 🙂

    “the “expert” guest said that my facebook adventure was “dangerous” because people with panic attacks should rely on a professional.”

    In 1994 I was refused help by a therapist because I did not have health- insurance. I was confused, scared and suicidal at the time and the Minister at the church and one of my Aunts had located this therapist for me thinking that she would help.
    She refused to help me for lack of health insurance regardless of my serious imminant life threatening condition. In that moment on the phone with her,….I felt so uncared for by a [health care professional],…to say the least.

    So much for the expert’s [broad based] statement to rely on a professional.

    I ended up back in a Veterans Administration Hospital Psych-Ward for two weeks courtesy of the United States Government and you the tax payer.
    I sinserely Thank You for your help when I needed it the most “Joe Tax Payer”.
    If I had not been a Veteran at that time 1994,….I would have gotten no help from a civian professional based on my experience / story.
    Now think of all the individuals that are non-veterans,..yet homeless on the street and may have some sort of Mental-Illness….???
    What are they supposed to do to help themself,…most self-medicate in some way and often times with horrindous pharmacalogical results.

    I think that without qualification on the experts part,….and based on my personal experience with being on the “afflicted” / “sick” end of the Mental-Illness / Therapuetic, often times finance dependant mess,….I think that the expert’s statement is more [Broadly Dangerous].

    What do yall(agoraphobics, anxiety, PTSD,…etc sufferers) think….???
    What’s your experience been like with professional mental health workers…???

    Arlynn,…you’re simply attempting to help yourself and others by demonstrative encouragement to take action and control of your life in little steps, big steps or somewhere in between.
    Kudos to you Arlynn….!!!!

    I have also experienced the opposite with a therapist. The one that properly diagnosed me with PTSD in 2005 and then properly treated me with EMDR with good intial results so far and continued remission of symptons, gave me about 5 months worth of free 1 hours sessions, once per week after I exhausted my 401K account to pay for regular price sessions. I felt so guilty and ashamed that I gave him $20 as a token each time I went in for a therapy session.
    Nevertheless,….most of my healing has been done on my own over the years in trial and error fashion.
    My point is that there is a wide range of Therapist / Professionals with various degrees of expertise and willingness to help an individual that may be in serious need of medical help, understanding, compassion and a entire list of other needs.

    Howard Lovely, Jr.

    • arlynnpresser

      your experience is extraordinary and yet it is also something akin to what others experience. i’m thinking you got screwed–you served our country, you did what needed to be done, you made the world a little safer so that i could live in peace and relative security (thank you!) and then you didn’t get supported. much love and hope for you! and i love your life that you’ve devised.

  • howardlovelyjr

    Thank you Arlynn,… for your kind words, insite and understanding.

    Yes,…I have used and stretched my resources to the best of my abillity at this time to devise / create my “life” as it is currently.
    However the Wonderfully Fantstic Woman of my dreams to share my life with,….she still “eludes” me.

    Howard Lovely, Jr.

  • Pink Ninjabi

    LOLOL… Love this post! LOVE! Great insight into the world of what agoraphobia sufferers endure, and ways of coping with these fears. It’s a great analogy to the many fears we often have in life. Thank you!


  • howardlovelyjr

    Yeah,….that cutie is taking her own sweet time….. 😉
    I guess she’s busy with other stuff for the moment….???
    I’ll just have to exercise a little more patience I guess…..???

    Ya know the old saying “Good things come to those who waite”…. 🙂


    • arlynnpresser

      visualize her! howard, you’d love new york! one day promise to come see it!

    • Alice in Wonderland

      Hi Howard,

      I often think that with my agorophobia and physical illness that the amount of time I spend indoors, combined with my soulfriends and soulmate being indoors (as they most likely are someone like you) we will never meet because we are always indoors!

      That’s my theory anyway!

      I based this on the fact that the few times I am social and out and about, I make friends easily and am well liked.
      So there’s nothing wrong with me (like I was starting to believe and some people who don’t understand the condition) it’s just how would I make more firends if I’m not outside to see them?

      So it might be that your beautiful lady is there, but you have to be out more to increase the probrability of bumping into her.

      I barely bump into my neighbours of 5 years…so that says to me, if my neighbours can be a stranger, anyone can be if you are too reclusive.

      In case that fails, they might start selling friends on ebay and we can have them fedexed to us! 🙂

  • howardlovelyjr

    Arlynn,…I’ll have to make plans and go visit “NewYork” as soon as I can.


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