Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

March 7, 2013

Sometimes the shortest distance between two points is through the Dr. Phil Show

By Michael Schaffer - Managing editor
Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — Fears or phobias can paralyze a person and keep them from living a fulfilled life. One woman with ties to the area took her fears to national television.

Jodi Guess Scruggs, formerly of Seymour now living in Lee's Summit, Mo., appeared on the Dr. Phil Show on Thursday, Feb. 28.

Scruggs and former Iowa State University basketball player Royce White appeared in the segment called, "Paralyzed By Fear."

Scruggs' fears are heights which includes bridges, escalators and see-thru elevators and flying. Scruggs would go to extremes to avoid heights.

"Obviously I have to encounter most of those things on a regular basis, but I have much anxiety about it. I make myself drive over bridges and ride on escalators," Scruggs said.  "If I can find a way to drive around a bridge to get where I'm going or take the stairs vs. escalator, I will. However, my heart races, sweaty, and limbs feel weak."

Scruggs managed to avoid flying until last year when her family took a vacation to San Diego. In an effort to abate her fear of flying, Scruggs sent Dr. Phil an email before her first flight asking for advice to deal with her anxiety.

One year later the Dr. Phil show contacted Scruggs and offered to help.  

"I felt so fortunate that in the thousands of e-mails the show gets, he had chosen to help me out with something I've been dealing with for years and years," Scruggs said.

Getting to the Dr. Phil show meant ... Scruggs' second time flying.

"Well, I took medication. When I say medicated I'm aware of what's going on when I get to the airport and board the plane," Scruggs said.

"Before that plane takes off, I'm asleep until it lands. This is same thing I did when taking my first flight a year ago. I never take anxiety meds of any sort other than these two times of flying."

Scruggs said her appearance on the Dr. Phil Show and with the help of Dr. Lawlis, she is now able to drive over bridges and overpasses she previously would have avoided.

"I'm thrilled to say my anxiety and fear have been lessened due to my appearance on Dr. Phil. Dr. Frank Lawlis is amazing." Scruggs said. "I've already made progress since I've returned home. There are some bridges and overpasses I previously didn't give a second thought. The past two years I've been avoiding them like the plague. I'm happy to say I'm navigating them again."

Scruggs said her appearance on the Dr. Phil Show was "rewarding beyond measure" and she is now in contact with the best doctors that can manage her anxiety.

"I'm hoping to be jet setting when I'm done with these wonderful doctors," Scruggs said.

Assisting Scruggs was her sister, Jill Guess Crall, of Albia, who attended the show with her, drove Scruggs to the airport, helped her on and off the plane, as Scruggs was medicated and got her to where she needed to go next.  

"She was with me every step of the way," Scruggs said. "My poor sister."

Scruggs' family including brother Chris Guess, formerly of Seymour and Centerville, parents Glee and Donna, formerly of Seymour and her husband, Chat, who rented a car from San Diego, where he was on business, and drove to Hollywood, did what they could so she could appear on the show.

"I'm just so very blessed with family and friends that have been behind me 100 percent in my mission to beat this anxiety/fear," Scruggs said.  

Going on the show meant telling the world, and some close to her who weren't even away of, the fears she has and battles with daily.  

"Yet, I didn't mind in having the world know if it meant I could get the best of the best to help me beat this monkey on my back," Scruggs said. "Since my appearance, I'm finding there are many more people with similar fears and anxieties. This is from people I thought I knew pretty well.  It's amazing how many people are walking around everyday with a similar monkey on their back, but too afraid to meet it head-on. It's easier to just avoid it (that's what I've thought until now)."  

Scruggs said the main reason she wants to beat her fears is for her daughter's sake. Scruggs said she wants Charlee to experience life to its fullest and be active in many different activities

"I don't want to limit her based on my ability to get her to the next dance performance, softball game, basketball game, etc," Scruggs said. "Charlee wants to do every extracurricular activity presented to her, fly to experience the world, and take everything in. These fears/anxieties have effected me professionally and personally."

Scruggs said the Dr. Phil Show was a life changing experience for her.

"I really hope this segment inspires others to meet their fears head-on," Scruggs said. "It feels so good to be able to go the shortest distance from point A to point B."