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(Original Air Date: 10/15/08) During high-stress times we all seek relief. But some people are unable to find an outlet for their pain, and they resort to the drastic act of suicide. Dr. Phil hosts an honest and open discussion about this serious topic in the hopes of saving lives. His first guest is Eric Steel, director of the controversial film The Bridge. The documentary showcases people taking their lives by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA. Is this a snuff film or does it raise awareness and create dialogue about this devastating epidemic? Then, meet a couple whose friend's last moments were captured in the documentary. You'll be surprised to hear how they feel about seeing his death on film. Next, did you know that more than half of American college students have considered suicide at some point in their lives? Casey, 17, was bound for college and a bright future, but cut her dreams short when she, too, jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. Her parents share their struggles, including why they blame themselves for her death. And, Dr. Thomas Joiner, psychology professor and author of Why People Die By Suicide, talks about a personal loss that inspired him to devote his professional life to suicide prevention. Find out what he says are the three common traits exhibited by some considering suicide. Plus, learn the critical warning signs to watch for that could be the difference between life and death. And, if you or someone you know is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK. Join the discussion.

Find out what happened on the show.
Comments
Replied By: fiend0810 on Apr 21, 2012, 4:50AM
I am watching the show regarding the Golden Gate documentary on suicide. I am now 54 years old and have struggled with these thoughts since junior high school. I grew up in an abusive household, emotional, physical, mental and sexual. You name it, it was there. I first tried to kill myself when I was in 8th grade. I tried again a few years later, and my uncle found me. He made it a point to drop by every few days after that to check on me and make sure I was ok. After high school, things seemed to settle down after I left home, but in the past 10 years, the feelings have come back. At work, we have a counselor that we are allowed 4 visits a year with and after struggling with this for several years, I finally went to see her. When she answered her door, I just said, "I have no hope for my life". Her name is Julie, and Julie immediately wanted to know if I needed to be on a 48 hour suicide watch. I told her no, but that if something ever happened to my son, all bets were off. He is the only thing in my life that actually makes me want to continue living. I'm in debt to my eyeballs, my health is horrid, my job is extremely high stress, my marriage is in shambles and I just don't know if I can continue this life of hell. I am not looking for sympathy, I am just saying that I understand people that actually go through with it. I have had to deal with the aftermath of someone killing themself, and understand what it does to people that are left behind. But I also know the absolute feeling of hopelessness. I have gone through therapy and feel that it did no good. I can't undo the deeds of the past and my family don't understand what I have been through. You can't just put your feelings in a box and put it in the closet, never to visit again. These feelings are always with you and once in a while, they just get overwhelming. I have been on anti-depressants..., they have done me no good. Again, I'm not looking for sympathy..., I just want people to understand that sometimes these feelings are beyond your control and the strength of them sometimes are absolutely overwhelming. I hope that I can get through this..., my son is my rock that keeps me grounded. I would never do anything while he is alive..., I would never do that to him. To all of you that fight depression and feelings of hopelessness, I have empathy for you. The best thing I can suggest, is to surround yourself with people. Do volunteer work if you need to..., you need to be surrounded by people that care. I know it sounds silly, but the best thing I did was sign up on facebook. You can reconnect with people from your past or make new friends. It gives you something to look forward to. Most of all, don't dwell on your problems. That just exacerbates the issues and makes the problems seem larger than they are. I am not out of the woods yet..., but I am trying. Good luck to you.
 
Replied By: winnlnjohn on Mar 27, 2012, 10:34AM - In reply to dvhill
I have struggled with mental illness for the majority of my life. It was only recently that I learned that what I suffer from is a personality disorder called chronic suicidality. It is formed over the years when a person struggles to have some control over a chaotic life, and they use the idea of suicide as an alternative to fall back on when they feel hopeless in dealing with whatever difficulties that are experiencing in their life. I truly believe that this delusion disorder began to form as a child, when my father was beating me with a belt. I thought to myself, if I commit suicide, he can’t hurt me anymore. It’s a thought habit that progresses and this thought process is increasingly applied when things go bad in one’s life. Most metal health professionals don’t even recognize the disorder and label their patients as "depressed," prescribing medication that they absolutely don’t need. If an attempt at suicide is made, the person gets locked up, thereby stripping them of all control, and only exacerbating the illness. One of the frustrations that I have suffered greatly with is that I found no understanding from anyone about how I was tortured by this illness. I was simply told "you can’t think that way" I had, after thirty years of feeling no hope with this illness, finally become determined to find some answers as to why these thoughts consumes me. I spent in excess of 50 hours with internet research, and at last found an explanation, a diagnosis, and then I continued my research to find ideas of how this burdensome thought process can be controlled. Despite my relief of finally figuring out what no one else could, there seemed to be absolutely no interest from those closest to me to listen to me when I told them what I had researched. My joy and hope became diminished, as I was so hopeful that they might find a new understanding of who I am. They always said I was overreacting, emotional, or dramatic - but I had a real disorder causing these things. Did they really think that I wanted to be miserable? I wish someone - anyone - would listen.
 
Replied By: dvhill on Mar 10, 2011, 4:35PM
I saw this particular episode last evening.

I find it wrong disingenuous to lead people to believe that desire to commit for suicide are fleeting.

I have been suicidal for 30 years -- the reasons are not transient. All the medication and therapy can't change how you look, how you don't "belong" anywhere, etc..

Suicide is a blessing, mostly for those who watch the pain, but even more so for those who must live the pain with it every day in perpetuity
 
Replied By: malibustace82 on Nov 26, 2009, 5:08PM - In reply to soonobody
Hey,

I don't know your kids, but I do know that any child whose parent suicides is dealing with a hard feat. My mother suicided 18 months ago when I was 25 and to be honest my life has been somewhat difficult since. I was not close to my mother at the time (emotionally or physically), but living with her was easier than living without her. I ask you to please consider if the role was reversed and you were surviving your child's suicide and never had another chance to talk to them, tell them you love them, hug them or touch them. It is an awful feeling that takes over and cannot be easily gotten rid of.

I mean no disrepect by this post, I simply want to paint you the picture that I live with every day. No matter how much you think your children will be better without you, leaving them through suicide will in no way make their life any easier. If anything, it will make their life horribly worse.

Please feel free to contact me on malibu_stacey1982@internode.net.au if you wish.

Take care and kind regards,

Stacey, 27f, Australia
 
Replied By: malibustace82 on Nov 26, 2009, 5:00PM - In reply to soonobody
Hey,

I hope you get this message. I read your post and I just wanted to say that although I don't know your kids, I know that any child who is survives their parent's suicide is shattered. I am 27 and my mother suicided 18 months ago, prior to her death we were not especially close and I didn't live near her let alone visit often. The last 18 months have been the most awful of my life and I am 27. Please think of how you would feel if the situation were reversed and you were surviving your child's suicide without having the opportunity to say one more thing, give one more hug or know that they know for certain they are loved. I know it is hard to plod on, but please for your children's sake do it. You may think they will get over it, but they won't and your suicide will be a million times worse for them to deal with than you perceive you are.

I mean no offence, I just wanted to paint you the picture I live with following my mum's suicide. Please feel free to email me on malibu_stacey1982@internode.net.au if you wish.

Kind regards and take care,

Stacey, 27f, Australia
 
Replied By: kadbury on Nov 26, 2009, 4:32PM
 

why if it is known to authorities that so many people jump off the golden gate bridge is there not some sort changes made to the railings of the bridge so that it is not possible for people to jump off it?
 
Replied By: yogime1230 on Nov 9, 2009, 3:01PM - In reply to jarred1
Wow I bet this is something you will never be able to fully recover from.  Your own child!  I am not a mom but I live with my gf and her teen daughter, 16, in fact who has depression and anixety.  I worry about her sometimes.  She doesn't do any homework.   She seems sad.  She refuses to go to any form of therapy and when she talks to her family doc she is evasive...

Are you or did your recieve treatment to deal with your loss?  Do you have lots of friend/ family support?

Very sorry for your loss! 
 
Replied By: soonobody on Sep 19, 2009, 7:47PM - In reply to metalman_too
Actually, my kids are like the rest of the world.  They see in me the same thing - whatever it is about me that makes me it impossible to have respect for me.  I just don't command it, although I treat other with respect, or so I think.  It must seem like respect to me and others see it as wimpiness or something.  Anyway, my children have no respect for me.  If they have problems, they will take anyone's advice over mine, even though I've been through it all and know quite a bit about life.  It's heartbreaking for me to hear my kids talk to me.  I guess they've been watching other people all these years.  So no, they don't need me.  Even though they wouldn't prefer that I die, they would be perfectly fine.
 
Replied By: metalman_too on Aug 16, 2009, 4:26PM - In reply to oogeyfeet
I can understand where you're coming from because my daughter killed herself. The same with knowing what akinslow and even soonobody. Sometimes as much as I and others would like to take another's burden away I know from experience I can't. The best I can do is share with others the thoughts about subjects. One thing I seen was support groups which give some hope of others that might better understand similar problems better than those that never went through the same thing. I know after my daughter's suicide I went to a few meetings of SOS (Survivors Of Suicide). I have had some friends go to groups like AA and the thing I liked about them was they gave them sponsors to turn to to help get them orientated with the initial phase of the program. My daughter left behind five journals plus I have letters from her and her deceased mother that I have been putting together with my input where I fit in. So in a way I've relived these experiences over and over again. She had been suicidal for seven years and I can understand how it has to be harder for you after an attempt at taking your own life. It's like nobody sees you as a human being struggling to sort out the craziness going on in your mind. It wasn't till about a year and a half before she ended her life that I woke up to the fact that I too was doing what others were doing. That's when I intentionally set out to earn her trust and respect. I figure that I was her father and it was up to me to be the one person in the world to be there strictly for her. That includes doing my best of not expecting her to do what I wanted her to do but what was only best for her. I bring this up because her death sort of put me where she was at with her emotions and feelings. It's like I couldn't trust or respect anybody to share my thoughts and feelings anymore. I ended up turning inward probably like all of you do also. One of the things I personally like doing is writing my thoughts down in notebooks. For me this gives me a chance to look at them and feel free because the paper has never offered me sympathy or told me how to fix myself. Sometime I glance what I wrote previously and it's almost like looking at it written down gets me to thinking in a different way. For instance I was in a restaurant once where there were artificial flowers on the table. I wrote what is it about the pain I feel seems to be like those artificial flowers. If they were real cut flowers at least they'd have to be in a vase with water in it that would have to be checked. Maybe the artificial flowers don't serve a purpose like real flowers. Then I went on to that's what I miss about my daughter. If that wasn't the reason why don't we have people stuffed like they do with animals and keep them around. I miss the purpose my daughter was to me. For me this gave me time to share my thoughts with myself and with time I kind of think miracles get a chance to sneak into our lives when we're ready for them. I wish I could add more for all of you cause I sure know the pain and frustration that goes with this.
Peace
 
Replied By: oogeyfeet on Aug 15, 2009, 1:52PM - In reply to akinslow
i am "oogeyfeet" and i am the one who wrote about the unethical doctor treatment on the msg bd.  does anyone have any advice for me.  i am not computer savvy so i dont even know if i am checking the msg bds correctly, but i dont see any replies.  could someone reach out and reply to me - please!!
and in reference to the msg entitled "such a hard topic", i am so sorry you lost your friend.  i had imagined what some people around me might feel the same way.  but i feel i know the emotional dilemma your friend must have gone through before taking her own life.  believe me it is not easy.  but i feel for you, and i pray you can go on with the fond memories of wonderful times (and bad times) you both had and that will keep you going.  i can assure you that your friend did not come upon this action easily.
 
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