Dr. Phil's Get Real Retreat, Part 4: Jessica R.

Feeling Unworthy

Dr. Phil asks Jessica R. to stand up. "How are you doing? I have not heard from you for awhile. Are you trying to disappear?" he asks. 

She cries and says, "No, I'm not trying to disappear. I'm just trying to get out of my own mind why I'm here, because my story is nothing compared to everybody else's."

"So, other than being a little overweight, you're fine? You're saying it's trivial compared to … ?" he asks.

"Yeah," she says. "Yeah, I'm just the 300-pound fat girl who had surgery and completely failed at it, and then went downhill from there. I just don't think I deserve to be in this place."

"Well, let's take a look at your life here," Dr. Phil says. He plays a home video of Jessica R. eating.

Jessica R.: I feel gross and ugly and fat. I'm going to go ahead and eat, but I'm going to throw it up. I usually use the back end of a knife.

Using the handle of a knife, Jessica makes herself vomit offscreen.

Jessica R.: That's what I do. That is why I can't succeed and why I continuously fail. I can't even take diet pills. I'm failing at that. I'm just sick of it. I'm sick of doing this. I just don't want to be this anymore. This isn't anything. This is a nobody. This is a nobody.

As the video plays, Jessica R. sobs. Diona also cries because she relates to Jessica's body image problems.

"I think that chair is well spent. Diona, what do you think?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Absolutely," Diona says, with tears running down her face. "There couldn't be a better person sitting in that chair, or more deserving."

"So, that was you now," Dr. Phil says. He shows a childhood photo of Jessica R. "That was you then. How old is she?"

"She's 6," Jessica cries, covering her face.

"Can you not look at her?"

"No."

"Why?"

"Because she's ugly. She's ugly. That's all she is," Jessica R. says.

"How did she get that way?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I wasn't taken care of," she says.

"Were you treated fairly?"

"No. I was teased a lot for my appearance."

"What did they say to you?"

"That I was fat, and I was ugly, and I was stupid," she says.

"And so you chose to write that on the slate of who you are, that you're fat, and ugly and stupid. They said it. You bought it," Dr. Phil points out. "And you turned your back on her," he says pointing to the photo.

Dr. Phil tells the group, "One of the most powerful things that any one of us can have is what I call a continuity of I.D. You've got to know who you were to know who you are. You know, I talked about being homeless and poor. I'm still that person. I'm in a different place, but I'm still that kid who survived that on the streets. And I know that."

He tells Jessica R., "That's you. That's you right there. And they made fun of you, didn't they? That wasn't fair. Is there anything fair about that? Is there anything fair about making fun of this child?"

"No," the group says.

"Clearly genetically predisposed to obesity," Dr. Phil says. "Clearly someone who lacked responsible nutrition and supervision. Clearly someone who couldn't make the choices at the time for themselves and lived with the result." He tells Jessica R., "Sit down in the chair that is yours. That's your chair, and you deserve to be here."

The group takes a break with their buddies. Jessica R. tells Diona, "I feel so stupid being here because everybody had these stories, and I just think I don't have it as bad as anybody else here. Why [am I] even here?"

"Jessica, you have to believe you deserve help," Diona tells her. "I understand, trust me. I've been where you're at. What would make you happy right now? To not eat? You have to eat though. When I was losing weight, I realized that I would not for another day let food control me ever again."

"That's why I took so many diet pills," Jessica R. says, crying. "When you take diet pills, you don't need to eat. You don't feel like it."

"They're going to kill you though!" Diona admonishes.

"I know," she says.