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 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 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. . .
I’M GOING TO BE THE FIRST PERSON TO HAVE AN ON-AIR HEART ATTACK ON THE DR. DREW SHOW!!!
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???
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?