She Isn't Here
A woman grapples with her life-long severe anxiety. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a sympathetic co-worker. A film by Michelle Noland.
- [Woman] No.
- So you're just gonna lie here.
Is that the plan?
Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great plan.
Just not sure how bladder's gonna feel about this.
When he suffers, we all suffer.
(makes noise of surprise)
Where did, huh.
- Well, I was hoping you'd be interested in James.
I saw the way he looked at you at that office party.
- How did he look at me?
- [Mom] Like no other girl in that room existed.
- Yeah, I, uh, I don't think you
were reading his facial expressions correctly.
- Hey, I know what I saw.
Just because I've been postponing
my cataract surgery doesn't mean I can't see. (laughs)
- I'm pretty sure it does, actually.
- I'm just worried about you, hon.
I mean, I just want you to have babies and be happy.
- I don't need to birth a child to be happy.
- Well, that's your choice but don't complain to me
about not finding a good man when you end up
like one of those old cat ladies on that MTV documentary
surrounded by smelly, dirty litter boxes
and old chewed-up cat toys in bed with you.
- Oh my gosh, no, I'm not a cat lady, mom.
- [Mom] Well tell me that in another 10 years.
Remember Aunt Betty from New Mexico?
There's a reason we don't visit her anymore.
You're not even living your life right now.
I mean, who's gonna want to end up
with a homebody for the rest of their lives?
- Look, I'm tired of explaining myself to you, okay?
- [Mom] I didn't mean it like that, I--
- Look, I've gotta go, I've got a lot to do today.
- [Mom] Okay.
- I'll talk to you later.
- [Mom] Bye, baby.
- Bye, Mom.
- [Rebecca] Ooh, hey.
- (laughs) Betacarotene.
- (laughs) Carotene.
- I don't know, what are you gonna go for next?
- Probably another carrot.
- Me, too, let's do it.
- I'm, I'm not done, okay.
Oh, I saw you got a new little thing on your desk.
Looks really cool, the little, is it a paperweight?
- Oh, the dalek, from Dr. Who.
- [James] Oh, dalek.
- Yeah, Dr. Who.
- Oh, yeah, Dr. Who.
- You watch Dr. Who, right?
- I know.
- Oh, you have to watch Dr. Who.
- [James] Is it really that good?
- It's so good.
- [James] Okay, everyone keeps-
- It's British.
- Is it really that good?
- [Rebecca] It really is.
- [James] So that makes it good?
- It does.
- [James] Okay.
- He's really cute.
And he flies through the universe
and the daleks are the bad guys.
They're like these little, um, like robot guys
and the doctor hates them and they come at you
in like huge numbers and it's like, exterminate.
And I don't know why, but they're just super creepy.
Well, they're little boxes that go, exterminate.
So that's creepy.
That's how they sound, yeah.
You should watch it. - Exterminate.
- Like that. (laugh)
- [James] Cool, it sounds like a good, a good show, I guess.
- It is a good show.
- [James] Yeah?
It sounds like it.
- It is.
I, I make my mom watch it with me.
- Oh, hey.
- Please don't.
- [James] Oh, I'm sorry.
- Yeah, don't.
- Okay, um, I mean,
great. - Um, have another carrot.
- [James] What?
- I have to go back.
- Oh, to-- - I'll see ya.
- 'Kay, cool.
("Oh Christmas Tree")
(checkout machine beeps)
(background noises grow louder)
(ringing sound begins)
- Are you finding everything okay?
(checkout machines blare)
(ringing noise escalates)
- So what is agoraphobia?
An agoraphobia is a marked fear or anxiety
about two or more of the following five situations.
They're either scared of using public transportation,
of being in open spaces, being in enclosed spaces,
standing in line or being in a crowd,
or being outside of the home alone.
Now they'll avoid these situations
because they kind of fear that escape
may be difficult or extremely embarrassing.
That thought and that worry keeps them out
of those situations, and for some people,
can even cause them to be home-bound, which--
- Good job, Rebecca.
You've got yourself another anxiety disorder.
How'd you manage to accomplish
such a noble and dastardly feat?
Well, my motivation came
from my deeply-rooted fear of confrontation.
I feel I really consolidated both my feelings
of inadequacy and lack of security as a child.
That's amazing, Rebecca, thank you
for sharing with us today.
(exhales) It is my pleasure, Pat.
Hey, Jo, I love these things.
It's kind of like a shark or (makes animal noises)
crocodile. (staple remover squeaks)
Um, new desk?
Sorry, I'm here to see Pat.
She back there?
You look great.
- So, you're back.
Thought you'd need more time.
- Ah, well, that's the thing.
I've been able to get my work done more effectively
from home and I was thinking, for the sake
of all of our spring projects coming up,
that it might be better--
- [Rebecca] Yeah.
- I've only made this exception
because you've always been a good worker.
- [Rebecca] Thanks.
- [Pat] Unfortunately, I haven't seen
any improvement from you.
- [Pat] Our team thrives on collaboration.
You know that. (ringing noise begins)
I just don't see how keeping you home is gonna help.
(Ringing grows louder)
It seems the more time I give you,
the worse things are for both of us.
If I can't get what I need from you anytime soon,
I'm going to have to let you go.
Look, I understand your situation and I'm here for you
as a friend but as an employer, I have to do
what is best for this company.
Look, (sighs) I've collected some contact information
for some local therapist over the last few days.
Please, consider giving them a call.
- Okay, okay, okay.
(soft music) (sobs and gasps)
- [James] Are you okay?
- Are you okay?
I'm an old cat lady.
- Um, okay, um, I'm not gonna explain
how strange this looks or how confused I am
by that last statement, but--
- I know.
- Since you already know that, I'm sure,
But if you need anything from me,
now might be a pretty good time to ask.
Can I call someone for you
or get you something like gum, anything?
- Uh, I think this is the part where I give some kind
of speech about, you know, how my life
wasn't supposed to be this way.
- Um, what?
- I mean, you know, all that stuff they say in movies.
About, like, wishing life was better
and the main character usually cries,
dramatic music starts to play.
- Hey, I don't hear any music.
- [Voice On Radio] Allow your meditation--
- Oh. (laughs)
- [Voice On Radio] To bring you to a place of peace.
- What is this?
- Okay? (laugh)
- [Voice On Radio] Float in the garden of peace.
- I don't know where that came from.
- I don't believe you, not for a moment.
- Uh, James, I do need something.
- Sure, anything.
- (inhales) Will you go out with me?
- Like on a date?
- I mean, yeah.
Or whatever, it's okay. - No, no, no, no, no,
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I mean, yes.
- Yes, I would like that.
- Mm hm.
Oh, (laughs) awesome.
- Me, too.
- [Rebecca] Awesome, great.
- So look out for that call now.
- [Rebecca] I will.
- [Rebecca] Okay, definitely.
- And I will see you later.
Have a good night.
- [Rebecca] Thanks, you too.
It was good seeing you.
- And feel better.
- I will.
Oh. (makes sound effect)
(makes sound effect)
♪ Maybe it's just for once
♪ And the spaces in between
♪ But this is where we wake up
♪ And where we fall asleep
♪ And I can't think
♪ Of another place
♪ That I would rather be
♪ So these are the only arms for me ♪
♪ I don't wanna get out of bed
♪ Won't you wake me gently, please ♪
♪ Or maybe just come lie down
♪ A little while with me
♪ Life ain't always easy, dear
♪ But happiness is free
♪ So won't you just stay awhile ♪
- [Announcer] Film School Shorts is made possible
by a grant from Maurice Kanbar, celebrating the vitality
and power of the moving image.
Additional funding for She Isn't Here was provided by...
A complete list is available from PBS.