Tag Archives: dr. drew

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?


i want to thank the academy and the mental health semi-professionals who made this possible. . .

on january 24, the academy of motion picture arts and science president will announce the nominations for an oscar.  i won’t be getting one.  but i sure felt like a star last night when the black lincoln town car pulled into the driveway.  michael, the driver, opened the passenger door for me and off we went.  president obama was in town but i didn’t have to worry about traffic.  i had to worry about dr. drew.

dr. drew pinsky is an internist, addiction specialist and a radio/television personality. he wanted to talk about my facebook project for his show on hln network.


i had run six miles earlier in the evening to calm my nerves.  i texted friends in the back seat as if the digits on my driver’s license were reversed and i was fifteen not fifty one.  i hardly noticed the beautiful lights on michigan avenue.  michael dropped me off at the building where cnn has its bureau.  the bureau is eight desks in one room and a small studio.  a cheerful makeup artist made me look so great i felt awful i was being wasted on a wednesday night.  and the producer took me into the studio.  it was nine thirty and i really wanted to be home in my pajamas.

i sat in front of a screen that was a video feed of the view from the window.  i had a microphone up under my sweater.  i had an earpiece in my right ear and could occasionally hear parts of dr. drew’s interview with billy ray cyrus.  a camera was directly in front of me and the producer told me to look just towards the top of the lens.  then it would appear as if i were looking at dr. drew.  it’s kind of like skype, but i would have to use my imagination.

for some reason i kept thinking of heidi fleiss and parrots. she was on two shows--celebrity rehab with dr. drew and sober house with dr. drew. instead of picturing dr. drew, i kept thinking about the fact that heidi the former hollywood madam owns over two dozen parrots.


i heard but could not see a clip of the time my facebook friend gretchen miller taught me how to open a champagne bottle with a saber sword.  it was a wonderful memory.  then an expert psychologist was introduced.  she was quite alarmed–because she said that panic attacks are made WORSE by someone going out into the world without proper medical supervision and care.  further, she said that panic attacks were among the easiest ailments for a professional to treat.

i have to stop right here and tell you what i HAVEN’T been doing for the past week.  i haven’t been seeing facebook friends.  i haven’t been traveling.  i haven’t been lolling by the pool at some wonderful resort.  i have been reading messages, texts, and emails from people who are just like me.  it has been overwhelming because almost all of them have been from people who suffer from panic attacks and agoraphobia.  all of them feeling trapped.  all of them doing their best.  some of them unable to afford treatment but most having made some effort. i have tried to respond to every email and i’ve made arrangements to visit at least one new friend because they believe i can help them walk out the door of their house.  hell, it can’t make things any worse, right?  and at least they’ll get a hostess gift out of the deal.

in the studio i did the worst thing:  i forgot my manners and my microphone.  i felt like i was being told that everything i had done over the past year was not only wrong, but medically ill-advised.

“maybe i should have brought a psychologist with me,”  i said about my past year of travel.

i instantly regretted the words.  and i settled into a familiar feeling of self-loathing.  my foot and my mouth are a perfect fit, yes?

the interview ended, dr. drew couldn’t have been more polite and sweet.  the producer and the makeup artist were very kind.  i went down to the curb and watched the president’s helicopter fly overhead.  michael told me the traffic would be light on the way home.  i felt guilty taking dr. drew’s car.

sometimes when i really feel down, i drink white wine and a lot of it. but after the dr. drew episode, i had an amstel light and read OK! magazine.


this morning, i was still feeling like i owed somebody–most particularly the expert psychologist–an apology.  and i had to question whether it’s okay for me to just haul off and write back to the facebook friends who contact me about their anxiety attacks.  i’m not an expert.  and i didn’t have experts with me when i went off to see my facebook friends around the world last year.  i didn’t even ask any experts what to do or how to do it.

silly rabbit, you had a LOT of help from mental health semi-professionals. they're called family and friends!


so i don’t have any opportunity or need to make up a thank you for oscar night, but i have a thank you for this morning.  thank you to my friends and family, on facebook and those who aren’t on facebook, because you made it happen.  and if i could roll out the red carpet for you on oscar night, i would!

so i’m in a coffee shop and. . .

i was eating an omelette and sausage and thinking “damn these extra pounds” and i looked up at the television screen and, well, every restaurant has a television screen these days. .. .




i wish i knew enough technology that i could just paste it on here like i do most videos.  it’s been a very affirming day but also a troubling one.  the affirming part is that my hair looks okay.  troubling that i have a developing double chin.


oh, whoops, that’s not quite it.


today is about YOU and your resolution.  tomorrow i make my new years resolution–okay, i’m a little late–but you should already have written it down, announced it to your friends (i count!!!!), and you should feel a little weirded out.  it has to be big.


did you know that 36% of people who make new years resolutions have broken them by the end of january.  but i think that’s because the resolutions aren’t specific enough.  don’t say “i’m giving up smoking”. . . . say “i will smoke this number of cigarettes in january and this  much fewer in february. . . “. . .


but here’s the good news:  contrary to everything you’ve heard, if you get past january 31, you have a better than average chance of making it.  so whatever you’re doing, keep at it.  and whatever you’re doing, be specific about the goal.  i have a twin resolution this year.  one is this:  to lose ten pounds.  because during my year of seeing every facebook friend, i gained ten pounds.  let’s be honest.  a guy can gain weight it gives him gravitas.  a girl gains weight it makes her pudgy.

this morning great america.

oh, gosh, i got interviewed on good morning america. i keep thinking it was great america. nobody offered me rides on a rollercoaster.


tomorrow, i will be on dr. drew.  i had no idea who he was.  i  confused him with dr. phil.

well, okay, way handsome. i'm in.