Wow—I got to be on TV! I was interviewed live on Channel 9, on the show called “Colorado & Company”. Being on TV has been a big dream for a while now and I’ve been mega-excited for weeks. Let me tell you about it. When we got to the studio in Denver, I met with Tawnya, the show’s producer, and found out that she loves birds just like I do. I was listening to a recording of bird calls and also some nature sounds mixed with soothing music to calm down, and Tawnya asked me about that. Turns out, she spent some time in Africa and did a feature on an amazing game preserve in Uganda whose animals include over 600 species of birds! It’s probably the biggest collection in the world. Next, I got to tour the newsroom. It was kind of like looking into a beehive—so many people working on the news stories, desks with computers and TV monitors all over the place, everything busy and buzzing. Finally, Tawnya took me to the set where I met Denise, the show’s host and interviewer. Everyone was super-friendly and I was having a great time, telling jokes and talking. That is, things were great until the second “teaser” that was featuring me—then, all of a sudden, I had one of my anxiety/panic attacks.
Usually, in my blogging, I tell you about all the great things that are happening ‘cause I don’t like to focus on the challenges and difficulties that follow me around because of my autism. But, those things are real too, and I am so sad that the attack clouded my experience of being on camera. I had so much I wanted to say and I was so happy until my mind did that flip-over freak-out, and then it was all a struggle. Denise was so great—she tried to distract me and she held my hand and was very understanding; she has had first-hand experience with a family member who also deals with tics, OCD, and anxiety issues—the same things that I live with as part of my autism. My mom was on set with me and so she talked to Denise about autism and the book that she is writing about my life and our journey together. I tell you—for hours afterwards, I felt so upset—I phoned one of my best friends who’s a singer and actress and she made me feel better, but still… I just wished there was another chance to go and do it over again. Maybe some day. I have to say though, I pulled it together in time for my evening presentation at Regis University. There, in front of another full-house crowd, I was back in my comfort zone—happy and ready to share my story. The audience was great—they had really thoughtful questions for us after the presentation. Both my mom and I felt very connected to all the people there—lots of laughter and smiles. They’ve invited us back and we’re already looking forward to the next time!