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Heaviest Woman Alive Now Wants Help; Hoarding: How Much is Too Much?
Aired November 25, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.
Extreme behaviors. A compulsive eater desperate to lose weight. She`s 700 pounds. Why can`t she stop eating?
Plus, hoarding, is it a sickness or something worse? One woman had 30 pets. The other is dumpster diving for junk, her junk.
And risking your life for fun. Jumping off buildings and skyaking - I don`t know what that is, but we`re going to find out.
Let`s get started.
Pauline Potter is a 2012 Guinness World Record holder. Her title, the heaviest woman alive. Who is Pauline and why would anyone want that honor?
Watch this then we`ll talk.
PINSKY (voice-over): Pauline Potter weighs about 700 pounds, give or take a few. And she takes pride in being the heaviest living woman in the world.
PAULINE POTTER, 2012 GUINNESS RECORD HOLDER, ALMOST 700 LBS.: It is a little bit embarrassing, you know, to put me out there. I was smiling I guess because someone was taking my picture. What level of a, you know, good life I do have, I`m not going to sit here and cry and frown.
PINSKY: Now before you judge her, ask yourself if you were ever rewarded or consoled by food. Well, so is she, to the extreme, and she intentionally gained some of this weight in order to get help.
P. POTTER: I absolutely loved food. I weighed about 220 in seventh grade. It`s almost the only thing I`ve ever known.
PINSKY: Pauline is a citizen of fat nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control. About one-third of all adults in the U.S. are obese. Seventeen percent of children are obese. The south has the highest obesity rate, the west, the lowest.
And health issues aren`t the only concern. Practical matters pose tremendous problems. This trip from her couch to the car took 10 minutes.
P. POTTER: I want more out of life. I want to be more physically active. I don`t want to have to sit in the back seat of my own car, you know? I want to get in the front seat and drive.
PINSKY: If she does not get serious about shedding the pounds, she may lose everything. Tonight, this 47-year-old mom is here to announce that she needs and wants help.
Pauline, thank you for joining us. I so appreciate it. Help me understand why someone would compete for the title of the heaviest woman alive.
P. POTTER: I knew that I needed help to lose weight, and I wrote to Dr. Phil, Oprah, Dr. Oz, and nobody would hear me or respond. So I decided to get in contact with Guinness Book of World Records and I thought, OK, I`m already this size, I might as well take advantage of it to get my story out there.
So I knew it would be a little degrading. I knew I`d get some negative feedback from it, but it was the risk that I wanted to take to get my story out there so that I could get some weight loss help.
PINSKY: What weight were you when you decided to take this on and where are you now?
P. POTTER: When I got my weight documented, I was 643. That was back in - I think February. And the last time I weighed, I was about 703, and that was a few months ago. But I`ve been trying to eat fruits and vegetables and stuff, make wiser choices, so I`m probably a little bit under 700 now. You know, I don`t really have any way of knowing, but really close to 700, but probably not at 700 right now.
PINSKY: Now, that tape we`re watching is of you walking just a few feet to the car. We also have some footage of you going to the couch. Let`s watch.
Pauline, we`re looking at you here and you`re obviously short of breath only walking a very short distance. How long do you think your body can withstand this?
P. POTTER: You know, I think that`s why I`m here today is I know I`ve pushed my body past its limits. I have knee pain every day, and I really need to get this taken care of, while I`m still healthy enough to -
PINSKY: And Pauline, I think people at home want to know how did this happen? You know what - is this something that had a genetic basis to it that you didn`t pay attention?
P. POTTER: There definitely is genetic. My mom is somewhere in her mid-350, I thought close to 400, but I`m not exactly sure. I have several siblings that are over 300. So there is genetics involved, but I`m absolutely not blaming it on genetics. I have a big appetite. I have a sweet tooth. I have definitely overeaten and I do take my blame for it.
PINSKY: Well, listen, now you mentioned that your entire family, your siblings were all overweight. What was your childhood like?
P. POTTER: My childhood was actually very happy, and I have kind of when I`m seeing my siblings that were over 300, there`s a little bit of story to that. My dad was actually married five times, and his siblings - the siblings I have with his different wives, there`s eight of us, all of that side is over 300, except for one.
My direct family that I grew up with, my mom, you know, we had five children. Not all of them are over 300 at some point, but half of us were kind of chunky. We had a very happy childhood. We celebrated a lot with food, food for every occasion, happy and sad.
PINSKY: And how much do you eat now? I mean what kind of caloric intake do you maintain?
P. POTTER: You know, I don`t really keep track of it, and I`m not trying to be in denial, but I don`t really feel like I eat a super, super amount now. I think maybe my metabolism slowed down after I had my son.
A lot of times I have bad eating habits as far as I wouldn`t eat anything until 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon, and then I`m really, really hungry, so I eat enough for two meals because I`m starving, you know? So I think it`s - it`s bad managing. It`s bad scheduling, and it`s a combination of things.
PINSKY: Are you - are you eating or have you - do you have a history of eating high caloric - there we have a picture of you eating a watermelon. You must - you must have had a period of high caloric intake. I mean, you must have.
P. POTTER: I love candy. I love sweets. If I could have dessert after breakfast, lunch and dinner, I would do it. I don`t know why, but I mean, I always loved to be munching on, you know, even if it`s Jolly Ranchers, sucking on them while I`m on the computer or something. That`s part of the compulsiveness I think is that I want to eat or have something in my mouth, even if I`m not hungry.
And I know it`s a bad thing like I`m not trying to put myself on display as I`m a freak show, hey, look at me. But I`m just saying it`s a bad - it`s a bad habit that I have developed over the years, and I do regret it, and I do not like the position that I`m in now. And that`s why I`m putting myself out here, you know, so I can try to change that.
PINSKY: One last question, Pauline. Have you made any big attempts at losing weight or had any professional help or done anything really systematic to try to lose the weight?
P. POTTER: I`ve tried many, many different diets from Jenny Craig to Nutrisystem to - there`s a cabbage soup diet that they put heart patients on to lose weight before surgery. I`ve tried Slim Fast. I`ve tried counting calories, carbohydrates, proteins and fat. Here at home, I`ve tried liquid diets. Oh, yes, I`ve tried a thousand diets for sure.
Most recently, though, in the last few months, I really started, because I love everything including fruits and vegetables, I have started when I get a sweet tooth, eating watermelon and cantaloupes. It`s summertime, so it`s the best time to take advantage of the melons being in season. I do eat a lot of watermelon, cantaloupe, any kind of fruit, I love all fruits.
So when I want brownies and ice cream, I`ve been exchanging it for fruit instead and that helps my sweet tooth a lot. So I`ve been, you know, working on it pretty good for the last few months.
PINSKY: And yet it seems like the weight continues.
But we`re going to talk about perhaps some solutions to that and how that needs to be managed, and how this should make us all think and pause on what we might be able to do with her own dietary habits.
And now Pauline can do very little on her own. So who is helping her out? It is her son. And much of his life is spent looking after his mom. He worries she may die. His thoughts on being the son of the heaviest woman alive, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DILLON POTTER, SON OF PAULINE POTTER: Dr. Drew, my mom weighs 700 pounds and I don`t want her to die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Well, none of us want her to die.
We are back with Pauline Potter. And those of you who are just joining us, we are talking to the Guinness Book Record Holder for 2012 as the Heaviest Woman Alive.
Now, remember, this show is all about trying to understand why people do what they do, and how we all can learn and apply it to our own lives and our own family and our loved ones.
Now, Pauline is a pretty dramatic case. And I think she knows that if she doesn`t get help soon with her weight, she could lose everything.
Joining me now is Dillon, Pauline`s 18-year-old son. You just saw him asking for help for his mom. Dillon now spends much of his time taking care of her.
We`re also joined by Dr. David Heber. He`s the founding director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Dr. Heber`s primary areas of research are obesity treatment and prevention. And Devin Alexander, healthy chef and author of the "Biggest Loser Cookbooks," including the "Biggest Loser Quick and Easy Cookbook" to be released November 8th.
First off to you, Dillon, what did you think when your mom got into the World Record Book?
D. POTTER: I just thought that, well, I knew she wasn`t the biggest one out there. But she needed to get her story out there, so a doctor will hopefully come forward and help her out.
PINSKY: Now, we had a camera crew up in Pauline`s home yesterday, and Dillon, if you look at this footage, you`ll see that it seems like you do a lot of work for your mom. We can see you`re the one really responsible for the safety and caretaking.
And I`ll tell you something, Dillon, you know, I deal a lot in my practice and over the years have dealt with care takers. And the one thing that I always caution everyone about is I don`t want a second patient. We got one patient. Are you taking care of yourself?
D. POTTER: I am. I`m taking care of myself as well as helping my mom out with stuff.
PINSKY: Pauline, I know you`re very dependent on Dillon, but I bet it`s difficult for you to see him helping and really dedicating his young life to you.
P. POTTER: It is. You know, it`s emotional for me. I do actually have a helper person that helps me with bathing and errands and helps run the house a little bit, but that person isn`t here all the time, so since Dill is here 24/7, a lot of it does fall on him. And I don`t know what I would do without him. I mean, he`s an awesome kid. But, you know, I do need his help, of course. But beyond that -
PINSKY: But, Pauline, I`m going to interrupt - we know you need his help, but we need to make you well enough so he can have a life. Don`t you agree?
P. POTTER: Exactly. Exactly. And that`s where a lot of my guilt is from is because I do need so much of his help, and I would love to have the day come where I don`t need him to help me up off the couch so that I can go to the bathroom, or I don`t need him to cook, you know, for me. Or, you know, he does do a lot of things for me that most children don`t do for their parents.
PINSKY: All right. There was a picture of him helping you out again.
But Dr. Heber, I`m going to you now. Your area of expertise is treatment of obesity. Where we do get started with Pauline? What does she got to do?
DR. DAVID HEBER, DIRECTOR, UCLA CENTER FOR HUMAN NUTRITION: Unfortunately, Pauline is in a point in her life right now that she`s going to need serious medical supervision, and I -
PINSKY: I`m going to stop you.
PINSKY: So the first note is coming - changing weight like this is not something you just follow Chef Devin`s cookbook.
HEBER: No, no.
PINSKY: She needs care - I mean, she did have some very serious metabolic problem.
HEBER: Absolutely. This is a woman with a very large protein mass. She`s got a lot of muscle on her body where concentrating on her fat, but that muscle needs to be supported with protein. She doesn`t get protein, her body will take it from her heart, which could be fatal. So this is someone who needs professional supervision.
PINSKY: And there`s also I imagine some surgery that she will need as well.
HEBER: Absolutely. She`s got a lot of what we call fat in the apron area. And there`s an operation you can - just cut that off and take off the fat. She`s also luckily got a lot of fat in her legs, which is actually a place where it`s metabolically less damaging for the body. Her upper body is not that bad.
PINSKY: Oh, that`s very interesting. But I imagine it`s still destructive to the tissue of her legs.
HEBER: Absolutely. And the worst thing is the mobility, her hips, her knees, her back. This is where the morbidity will come in. She`s 47. We need to do something now before she`s totally immobile.
PINSKY: And would something like a gastric bypass be appropriate?
HEBER: Ultimately it might be appropriate for her, but it`s a last resort. I would start her out on a very low calorie diet with medical supervision.
PINSKY: And finally what are the genetic predisposing elements that the environment have actually triggers in somebody like Pauline?
HEBER: Well, there`s definitely a genetic component. This type of obesity has gone up four-fold in our society. And the genes are there, but there are multiple genes. It`s not a single gene we`ll ever cure. She`s just very well adapted to starvation. I`d say she`s the kind of person who will be the last one to starve in a village a thousand years ago.
PINSKY: Well, we heard her say that she doesn`t eat until 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon sometimes.
PINSKY: And still not losing wait. Devin is shaking her head.
HEBER: Absolutely. That`s what we call the dieter`s plan. You don`t start eating until 4:00 in the afternoon. She`s got all kinds of hormones that make her have a thrifty genotype. She hangs on to every calorie. And so the genetic slows the gun, but environment pulls the trigger.
PINSKY: And finally for people that are sort of interested in this topic, there`s a whole hormonal system that determines hunger and satiation, you know, whether you`re full and that sort of thing. Are we making any progress on manipulating that system?
HEBER: It`s tough. It`s tough. Because we`re very well adapted to starvation, poorly adapted to over nutrition. Our genes are 50,000 years old and nature just doesn`t believe you`re going to find the next squirrel (ph) in the forest tomorrow, so you hang on to every extra calorie.
PINSKY: That`s very interesting.
Now, Devin, your story is you actually yourself lost 70 pounds. I mean, look at her. She`s fantastic. Beautiful, right? And you`ve written books about how to eat and how you did this. It`s a different - but even 70 pounds is something that average person can manage on - on their own, I imagine, I mean, generally speaking. HEBER: Generally-speaking, people in the 30- to 40-pound range can generally manage on their own and that`s the public health thing that we have to tackle, absolutely.
PINSKY: And, Devin, do you have specific recommendations other than buying your cookbook and following directions?
DEVIN ALEXANDER, AUTHOR, "THE MOST DECADENT DIET EVER": No. I mean, just don`t completely starve yourself and get rid of everything that you crave, because I think that causes problems, too, long term. Like you lose it, but then you gain it back. So it`s like really focus on the things that you love that are going to excite you and make those things and have those in small quantities and then eat the fruits and vegetables and all of that.
PINSKY: Do you have questions or direct advice for Pauline and her - and her son?
ALEXANDER: Well, direct advice -
PINSKY: Or questions about, you know, what they have been doing or trying what they could try?
ALEXANDER: Well, I know the sweet tooth she said was big. And I do have a recipe for brownies that I know you`ve had.
PINSKY: They`re really good.
ALEXANDER: They`re 50 calories. So that`s one of the things, you know, for me sometimes I get the voice, like, you know, have something, have something and that can curb it and they -
PINSKY: So for the average person I think from talking to Devin in the past, what I`ve come to understand and I try to do this myself is pay attention. Make proper choices.
ALEXANDER: Well, and that is such a huge thing, because you can cut calories. I mean, you go and order a chicken breast sandwich in a restaurant and they put 200 calories worth of butter or lard on the bun. And by the time you put your ketchup and barbecue sauce and all of that, you don`t taste it anyway.
So just be really cautious about what you`re actually putting in your body. Because you can lose weight simply by, as you said, being aware.
PINSKY: And finally, Dr. Heber, what are we going to do for Pauline? She - Pauline, you`re on Medi-Cal, is that right?
P. POTTER: Medicare and -
P. POTTER: I think it`s Medicare and -
PINSKY: OK. So Medicare should cover this kind of intervention.
HEBER: Yes. She`s got a good University Hospital in her area in Sacramento. We work quite a bit with UC-Davis. We would be happy to work with some of the experts up there. I don`t think she`s mobile at this point that she should come down here to Los Angeles.
But we`ve had an excellent relationship with UC-Davis for many years. And they have a big Nutrition Department. It`s our land grant college for California. So I would be very happy to help communicate with her and see what we can do to help her.
PINSKY: Pauline, we`re going to hook you up with Dr. Heber. Does that sound like a start at least?
P. POTTER: Sure, thank you very much.
And when we come back - thank you to my guests, of course. We will take up the issue of hoarding. Could you live with 29 cats and 9 dogs? One woman did, almost lost her family because of it. It`s cute - but not - oh, that`s not cute any more.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YOLANDA JONES, HOARDER OF PETS: I could never live without my animals. Literally can`t live without them. And if everybody else walked away, my cats are still there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Welcome back.
Tonight we`re talking with people who are dealing with hoarding. Now, we all have things we can`t get rid of, but compulsive hoarding is the act of accumulating possessions in excess of normal amounts - great excess.
Our first guest is Yolanda Jones. She is a married mom of five that with at one point owns 29 cats and 9 dogs. As you can imagine, it was not easy being in the Jones household. Take a look.
PINSKY (voice-over): Twenty-nine cats.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everywhere you sit, there`s cat poop or dog poop. On the furniture! I`ve seen the cats pee on her stove.
PINSKY: Nine dogs.
ASHLEIGH, YOLANDA`S DAUGHTER: I feel like if it doesn`t get fixed, I mean we have to worry about the animals, we`re going to have to worry about where they`re going to live.
PINSKY: And one family all under one roof.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to get my house back to normal, back to where I don`t have to dread the smell when I open the door.
PINSKY: Yolanda Jones is the head of the household and keeper of the animals. Some may call her a hoarder of pets.
JONES: I could never live without my animals. Literally, can`t live without them.
PINSKY: The situation got so bad that four of Yolanda`s five children had to leave home.
WRANGLER, YOLANDA`S SON: To make things better, the cats need to disappear.
PINSKY: But with the help of Animal Planet, Yolanda worked with a therapist to let go of her precious pets.
JONES: I want my life back. I`m on my [bleep] now. The only way to go is up.
PINSKY: Yolanda Jones joins me tonight. So, Yolanda, have things gotten better since you have given up many of your pets?
JONES: Oh, yes. They`ve gotten a lot better. And I probably couldn`t have made my life any better this way.
PINSKY: I understand it got so bad, your kids actually left home.
JONES: Yes. I had two leave home because of them.
PINSKY: Oh, my gosh. You seem a little sad about that. I would imagine it was not an easy time.
JONES: No. And I think looking back, I really don`t understand how I didn`t see it and I didn`t wake up to it then. And it took to this point for that to happen.
PINSKY: Well, help people understand it. Again, I want people at home to kind of learn from these things. What was the denial about and what led you to break through that?
JONES: I think the denial itself was just that it wasn`t the animals, it was everybody else. It was - it was their problem, it wasn`t mine. I had it under control when in fact it was my children that had it under control and they were really sick of having it under control.
PINSKY: How did you break through?
JONES: I don`t think - I think it was one day when one of the ladies from Animal Planet, when I was talking to them and they were like, "Well, how are you doing it feeding these animals? How are you doing maintaining their care? How are you doing it maintaining your home, your life?" And I couldn`t answer any of those positively.
It was basically the same thing as I think I said it before, as being a junkie and not doing my job.
PINSKY: Yes. That`s very true, Yolanda. Well, thank you.
I hope that your relationships with people have gotten richer because that`s what tends to happen when people deal with these things, they find that they can fill themselves with important people rather than things or animals. So I appreciate you sharing your story.
And when we come back, we`ll hear from another compulsive hoarder, one who almost was evicted from her home because she could barely walk through it. Stay with us.
PINSKY: We are talking with Yolanda Jones, a married mother of five who is a compulsive hoarder of animals. At one point they had 29 cats and nine dogs. A little later in the program we will be joined by another hoarder who was forced to clean out her home or lose it. Yolanda, thank you again for being here and sharing your story with us.
Now in these therapeutic sessions, your mom brought up the fact you were molested as a child, which of course is a very difficult moment. Let`s look at it real quick.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A man molested her. And nothing ever happened to him because we forced her into saying it didn`t happen, something I`ve lived with for years.
PINSKY: Can you talk to your mom, Yolanda?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just the self-worth of the child was so low.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Now of course, that trauma had an effect on your motivation to fill a house with animals. Of course it did. But I don`t want to be Pollyannaish here. I think the television world thinks you have great insight, you wouldn`t want to have animals anymore, like alcohol you wouldn`t want anymore. And that`s ridiculous. I`m sure you still want to have animals.
But I am also sure a lot of intervention helped you stop doing this. And the insights are helpful. And also my understanding you`re a recovering person. So did you help the 12 step techniques to help with animal addiction?
YOLANDA JONES, ANIMAL HOARDER: Not really. I did, but I didn`t. I more or less agreed that I was powerless. I more or less agreed I could no longer take control of them.
PINSKY: Had your program slipped a bit? Were you drifting from the program and the animals became the latest version of your addictive disease?
JONES: I don`t know that I really ever carried a 12 step program to be honest. I think for me, it was more spiritual base and I did well at it, and I don`t know where I fell, but I fell short somewhere. That`s probably because I failed the 12s.
PINSKY: Were the animals filling emptiness, and have you found other ways to do that now?
JONES: Yes. I did. I went back to school and I started spending a little more time with my kids and slowly trying to be the mother that I was supposed to have been from the very beginning.
PINSKY: So I imagine the compulsion didn`t go away at first. You had to be almost forced to do it, and slowly diminished as you filled with more spiritual, more human contact?
JONES: Actually, it`s really hard, even now. I see an injured animal, I still want to take it home and I still want to save it. And I can`t because it is so emotional.
PINSKY: You know, you might want to look into a 12 step support because it is a hard thing to white knuckle on your own. Having other people around and a sponsor helps with these kinds of compulsions.
Now, Linda Thompson is a different type of hoarder. She stores large quantities of nonessential things in her home and it was turning her home into a health hazard. A code enforcement officer said she had to clean it up or lose it. Linda says the officer saved her home because she reached out to TLC`s "Hoarding, Buried Alive" program and they showed up and they helped her out. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s a lot of stuff here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the stuff that was here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look, where`s the couch.
PINSKY: In order to save her house, Linda accepted the help of TLC, and opened her home to a therapist that counseled Linda her with her hoarding problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: So Linda, thanks for joining us. I think the average viewer at home wants to know how did this happen, how did you get to this point? How come you didn`t see what was happening.
LINDA THOMPSON, HOARDER: I kind of did see it happening, and unfortunately there was another member of -- a significant other living in the home who was a bully type, that wanted it all, a control freak that wanted all the attention himself, and it became sort of a doom and gloom situation there. And unfortunately he wouldn`t allow me to clean the house or organize anything.
PINSKY: Did you have any compulsive behaviors before that started up?
THOMPSON: I think they kind of call it dumpster diving, but you don`t really get in dumpsters. You go behind the thrift stores.
PINSKY: You had a long history of collecting and hoarding things?
THOMPSON: I think so.
PINSKY: Maybe not clutter, but collecting.
THOMPSON: As a child, I was given hand me downs because we deputy hadn`t have any money. I think it started there.
PINSKY: I was going to say, was there a rich fantasy life attached to the behavior of dumpster diving?
THOMPSON: You know, I never looked at it that way. But what the program, the hoarding people at "Buried Alive" showed me is that there was something, there had to be something, some reason, something I was seeking out that was -- that caused me to do --
PINSKY: Sometimes it is just brain mechanisms. Sometimes obsessive compulsive features of many type is a biological manifestation of certain genetic brain conditions or environmentally induced brain conditions. Were you ever treated with medication?
PINSKY: No medication. Anybody ever suggest that?
THOMPSON: No. I think that what I was doing was seeking something exciting in my life and possibly something that it made me happy. It was like Christmas every day.
PINSKY: It sounds like there`s a rich fantasy attached to it, that you were constantly around gifts and presents and Christmas -- Christmassy.
THOMPSON: Gifts from god and the universe how I looked at it, one man`s trash is another man`s treasure.
PINSKY: Can you understand the average person might shake their head and say how is that possible, how could she live like that?
THOMPSON: Yes, even I did.
PINSKY: You did.
THOMPSON: I still don`t understand completely the processing it out thing, and you know, just throw the box away, don`t even look at it. You can`t do that as a hoarder. What`s in the box and I want to see to the corner. I want to see what`s in the box. I can`t throw it away.
PINSKY: It is like telling a heroin addict just don`t do heroin. You can`t. The brain wiring doesn`t allow you to do that. So how are you doing?
THOMPSON: I am so sick and tired of stuff, trying to process it out, it is burdening me and it has become cumbersome. I`m not stuck like I felt before because now there`s room to breathe.
PINSKY: Are you going to save your house?
THOMPSON: I am fighting to save my home as we --
PINSKY: Have you cleared it out?
THOMPSON: It is not completed yet.
PINSKY: Cleared enough they`ll allow you to keep your home?
THOMPSON: They`re allowing me to live in my home 24/7 now. And there`s still some storage in the home that needs to be removed. It`s not completed. I am not financially equipped to make back payments due on my mortgage.
PINSKY: Yolanda, you`re reacting to Linda`s story. You want to make a comment?
JONES: Just I understand. It is the need to hold onto what we have. That`s what we have. Those are the things that give us comfort.
PINSKY: You understand it is a false -- it is a surrogate, right?
PINSKY: It is an empty way of trying to fill.
JONES: It is empty fulfillment.
PINSKY: That`s right. And what I was -- Linda`s case is a little more complicated. In your case what I was suggesting is that it is people that will be the source of fulfillment, and spiritual.
JONES: And my husband.
PINSKY: And your kids and a spiritual program, which you lost. You lost that somewhere.
JONES: Yes. I just don`t even know where I lost that to be honest, because I was diligent about it. I was diligent. And somewhere along the way, I just --
PINSKY: This is what this particular program is all about is about motivations and how to motivate to keep doing well and doing the right thing. You have to have that motivation every day as opposed to succumbing to more path logical motivation to something that given your childhood history, Yolanda, and Linda, maybe your biology, it is understandable, but you can`t drift back into that. You can`t let that happen. You have to do something on a regular basis. You have a certain thing that needs, just like if you need physical therapy for a knee or a hip or something, you got to do the same thing for this hoarding behavior.
Yolanda, thank you for joining me. Linda, I appreciate you sharing your story. I think it is important for other people to hear this.
Now, just a reminder, the season finale of "Hoarding, Buried Alive" will air this Sunday at 10:00 p.m. on TLC. Next, we`re continuing our look at extreme behaviors. We will hear from an athlete that takes the phrase, quote, "It`s do or die time" to a new level. We will meet him when we come back.
PINSKY: Welcome back. We`ve been talking about extreme behaviors. And again, just to remind people, we`re looking at extreme behaviors both to understand where they come from and perhaps how we can apply some of those insights into our own life. I think tonight has been interesting so far.
Now we`re going to take a jump in an entirely different direction and talk about an extreme sport. These athletes if they make a mistake can be arrested, severely injured, or even die. Remember when your mom or dad said if your friend jumped off a bridge, you`d follow them? My next guest would do precisely that happily. Watch this.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See you.
We just came out and jumped this Seoul tower, beautiful Seoul, Korea. It`s a little cloudy, but still it`s a beautiful place to be.
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PINSKY: Base jumpers leave from stationary structures and free fall for as long as they can -- it freaks me out even to see that footage -- before releasing the parachute. But why would anyone in their right mind want to jump off a building? Is it the risk, the thrill, the challenge? Here to answer some of those questions, Red Bull air force base jumper, Miles Daisher. What, how? How old are you?
MILES DAISHER, RED BULL AIR FORCE MEMBER: I`m 42-years-young.
PINSKY: A funny thing occurred as we were preparing for this segment. When you`re an adolescent, the frontal part of your brain doesn`t work. You haven`t had any bad head injuries. The frontal part of the brain doesn`t work, you become dependent upon the part of the brain that responds to arousals. It`s why teenagers are into arousal because it is the only part driving them. The frontal part saying don`t do and doesn`t kick in until about 21 or 22. Yours didn`t get turned on.
DAISHER: I`m trying to live forever and be a child forever because play time is the best time. Basically I chose a really nice hobby I love to do and kind of made it a profession.
PINSKY: Has it been your profession your whole life?
DAISHER: No, I had plenty of professions, done all kinds of things. I graduated with a degree in physical education. I was supposed to teach PE. And I kind of turned into a ski bum awhile, transformed into a sky dive bum, then I`ve done all kinds of various things from landscape construction, all kinds of fun jobs. This is the best.
PINSKY: I see your eyes light up. One of the things we want to understand today looking at these behaviors, what`s different about you. I look at that, think that`s something I would find very, very unpleasant, even watching, and you find it completely turning on, turns you on.
PINSKY: What`s different about you? Why do you think you go in a direction, I go the other, besides the fact I am boring and a square.
DAISHER: A lot of my friends and I, I have ADD, a little built into ourselves. If not doing fun, cool, rad things kind of pushing, not saying pushing limits, but maybe pushing limits, we need to see what`s possible, OK, let`s see what we can do.
PINSKY: That`s interesting. You are right. ADD does cause or is associated with these behaviors. A message for those of you with kids jumping off furniture, they are ADD kids, also associated with addiction and alcoholism, is that gene in your family background somewhere?
DAISHER: A little bit. I know some of my grandparents, cousins used to make some bathtub gin back in the day.
PINSKY: And this has become your addiction in a way. Do you get high doing these things? We are watching another piece of footage of you doing something crazy, out of an airplane, awesome.
DAISHER: Yes. You take these kidneys, that sit there, you give them a good squeeze, you feel that juice going through your body. Right there, jumping off a cliff in Norway.
PINSKY: This is something different.
DAISHER: This is different, the flying squirrel outfit. You want to see what`s possible. You jump a kayak out of an airplane. This is the most fun you could have, jump a wing suit and fly your body.
PINSKY: So you said when you feel those adrenal glands squeeze adrenaline into your system, which I think those of you listening at home recall as something extremely unpleasant. Your heart rate goes up, you flush, you feel horrible, you`re scared. It is something to make you aversive to the condition that you may be facing, run from the lion.
DAISHER: It is like wild. Roller coasters are fun and scary. That`s kind of the way I think --
PINSKY: A little of it is fun. I wouldn`t spend every day at the Six Flags. I would spend a little time there. And now the base, in base jumping is an acronym, it stands for four locations a sky diver must leap from before I can be a base jumper. It`s building, antenna, span, like a bridge, and earth.
DAISHER: Earthlike a rock, a big cliff.
PINSKY: A cliff or something like that.
DAISHER: Those are the best.
PINSKY: You were quoted saying if I`m not going a million miles an hour, I am asleep dreaming about the next cool moment.
DAISHER: Yes. I spend a lot of time thinking what we`re going to do. We`re not just a bunch of crazy nuts. Some of us are. But honestly, you put a lot of time and energy into planning what you`re doing. There`s so much preparation. It`s 98 percent preparation.
PINSKY: Let`s turn this serious a second. You have how many kids?
DAISHER: I have three children.
PINSKY: Don`t you worry something is going to happen to you?
DAISHER: It`s kind of in the back of my mind. I have a will and that kind of thing to help them out. My plan is to never, just not die in this sport, but not to get hurt in the sport.
PINSKY: Let me take note. Your plan is not to die. Not to die. Got that.
DAISHER: You know when you`re operating machinery, avoid serious injury and death. That`s the plan.
PINSKY: Most of your friends dived. Base jumping is one of the world`s most dangerous recreational activities. Overall fatalities in 2002 estimated one per 60 participants. And 174 people have died base jumping since 1981.
DAISHER: I have seen some people out there taking some super unnecessary risks, and some of the things I do, I do push a little bit.
PINSKY: Just hearing about it nearly flipped my cookie. You do some sort of Bungee jump. Would you go to one side of the bridge and then drop down?
DAISHER: Rope swing base jumping. Water-ski rope handle, on a 60 foot rope. You go swinging off a bridge, go flinging into the air. It is like so much fun. If you fall off the rope, just open your parachute. And there are different ways to fall off the rope. Fling out, it`s another way to get creative with it, maybe an artist style.
PINSKY: I am so happy that you`re happy. I am happy for you. And I`m happy you found a productive way to make a living from it, I just don`t want to see anything happen to you.
DAISHER: A friend of mine when I was working landscape construction, building houses and umpiring baseball, soccer, he told me, do you love your job? I was like well, I really like it a lot, but "love" is a strong word. He said you have to quit doing that and do what you love. That was Frank Embally, and he taught me to sky dive and base jump. I was learning to sky dive. It wasn`t into base jumping then because it scared me, my scar scariest moment.
PINSKY: Scared jumping off a bridge.
DAISHER: It is for real.
PINSKY: No kidding. When we come back, we`ll talk about what`s next for miles. Is there a platform he won`t jump off of? Find that out and what his next stunt is going to be when we get back.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes! Yes, Miles!
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PINSKY: Here with Miles Daiser, one of the Red Bull Air Force team members. These guys are wild. They Kayak out of airplanes, base jump off 30 story casinos, wear wing suits that allow them to reach speeds of 340 miles per hour. Miles and the Red Bull guys are excited about the soon to be released feature film "Human Flight, 3D."
Miles, what`s the next big stunt? I promo-ed it before the break.
DAISHER: I have done 150 forward, safe to say there. I am looking to make a human archery target and fly through to show how well you can fly your body with a wing suit.
PINSKY: Is the archery target a few feet of the ground?
DAISHER: About 40 feet off the ground. I can come close to a cliff and do five feet consistently on a no wind basis.
PINSKY: Back it up?
DAISHER: You want a steep angle of attack.
PINSKY: Stop. I can`t take it.
DAISHER: My dad was a pilot. He taught me always have an out. When buzzing anything, proximity wise when flying next to it, you want a ton of speed so you have a way out. Never paint yourself into a corner.
PINSKY: But some day you might lose that, that out might close. Might there be people out there saying this guy is a father of three, isn`t he being selfish, living his dream, we get that, maybe at the expense of his kids losing their father.
DAISHER: I don`t want my kids to lose their father, too.
PINSKY: What would you say to somebody that has that criticism?
DAISHER: Don`t be afraid to live. If you`re afraid of dying and you don`t live, then did you truly live? I`m living the dream, I`m doing it as safe as I can. My goal is to be 80 years old, sitting in a rocking chair telling stories no one will believe until I show them these old DVDs.
PINSKY: I hope at 79 you aren`t putting on the flying squirrel suit and doing something crazy.
PINSKY: It is an interesting story. We see both sides of it. I just worry. I am a worrier. I have anxiety disorder, I don`t have ADD, although I am accused of doing my base jumping here by the producer.
DAISHER: Seriously, everybody has their own thing going on.
PINSKY: Before we go a few thoughts about going to extremes. We have been talking about extremes today. It is something we don`t really focus on in our culture is motivation. What motivates us? What are we responding to? It is our motivational state that creates our thoughts. Thoughts may justify motivations, but sometimes motivations aren`t to do good things and get us into trouble. We talked about that a lot about that today.
But you`ll always know, you`ll always hear in the back of your mind somewhere a little voice that if you can listen to will not steer you wrong. It`s different than motivation. It`s a little voice that says this may not be the right thing for you, maybe not the right building to jump off of, maybe not the right guy to be in a relationship with. You need to learn to listen to instincts that are very difficult to hear when we are overcome by motivational states that in our culture we put great value on to go out to eat, have extreme activities, make lots of money, we like to gratify motivation as opposed to listen to our instincts.
And by the way, living with integrity turns up the volume on the instincts. Think about it. We`ll see you next time.