Memoir “Autobiography of an Agoraphobic” Tells Author’s Remarkable Story

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Author Michael R. Patrick shares his struggle with agoraphobia and misdiagnosis of heart condition

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Michael R. Patrick was a healthy young man attending DePaul University when he experienced an episode of shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain and dizziness. Patrick thought that he was going to die. He was rushed to a local hospital, where he was misdiagnosed as having suffered from hyperventilation and a panic attack. This misdiagnosis led Patrick into the tumultuous period of his life that served as inspiration for his book, “Autobiography of an Agoraphobic: One Man’s Struggle with Panic Disorder” (published by AuthorHouse), which he hopes will spare others from the physical and mental pain he endured.

The hospital sent Patrick to a psychiatrist, who he sees clearly now as “incompetent” and “a bully.” After spending six years with the psychiatrist and repeatedly being told to “get over it,” Patrick finally decided to seek new help. His new psychiatrist suggested that he see one of the top cardiologists in Chicago and the Midwest. Using a special technique, the doctor listened to Patrick’s chest and discovered a grade two murmur and a click in his mitral valve, diagnosing him with mitral valve prolapse. Missed almost a third of the time by an echocardiogram, Patrick was fortunate to be in the hands of a cardiologist who remarked, “There is no substitute for a good set of ears.”

The stress of the misdiagnosed panic attacks had caused Patrick severe depression, isolation, frustration and led to agoraphobia, a fear of open spaces. After years of these spells and difficult side effects, Patrick finally had an answer. The diagnosis explained the panic attacks, chest pain and shortness of breath. He was put on a beta-blocker, which eradicated his mitral valve prolapse symptoms. Patrick had his life back. Although he still deals with agoraphobia, it is much more manageable. For all practical purposes, Patrick considers himself cured.

He credits for his recovery not only accurate medical diagnosis, but also God, who helped him to become “whole again.” Patrick looks to God as the impetus for writing his book, which he hopes will keep as many people as possible from suffering and dying needlessly from mitral valve prolapse.

“Michael R. Patrick has provided us with a wealth of information about the little known, but widespread, mental illness of agoraphobia,” writes Father Andrew Miles. “More importantly, he has shared a very personal and moving testimony of how God brings healing to this illness and how He brings good out of every trial.”

About the Author
Michael R. Patrick was born in Chicago and lived there until the age of 9. After a few years living in New Jersey, Patrick moved back to Chicago at age 13. He studied finance at DePaul University and went on to become a successful mortgage broker. He currently lives in a suburb of Chicago, where he devotes his free time to writing.

AuthorHouse, an Author Solutions, Inc. self-publishing imprint, is a leading provider of book publishing, marketing, and bookselling services for authors around the globe and offers the industry’s only suite of Hollywood book-to-film services. Committed to providing the highest level of customer service, AuthorHouse assigns each author personal publishing and marketing consultants who provide guidance throughout the process. Headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, AuthorHouse celebrated 15 years of service to authors in Sept. 2011.For more information or to publish a book visit or call 1-888-519-5121. For the latest, follow @authorhouse on Twitter.


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