Exercise Saved My Life
I was once 300 pounds and felt terrible all the time. Headaches and body aches and pains were nearly constant. I also had trouble concentrating and even struggled to walk up the stairs in my own house! These affected me so much that I began to have trouble sleeping. Then I was diagnosed with Major Depression.
The pain was at a level where I couldn’t function properly anymore. My head hurt so much that all I could do was try to go to sleep in order to escape its grasp. When I was awake I was always dizzy and normally nauseous. I felt like I was dying. When my headache was less intense, the rest of my body felt like I had been hit by a train. Everywhere hurt and no position was comfortable. I thought something was seriously wrong with me, I thought I had cancer or some terrible condition and that my organs were beginning to shut down! Doctor visit after doctor visit, nothing could relieve me of my suffering. I just wanted a pill that would make me better. I avoided people and missed school and even excluded my family and friends from my life. All I wanted was to feel better! I didn’t think that was such a big ask. All I could do to get away was to sleep but my symptoms worsened and eventually prevented me from sleeping properly. On a good day I may have gotten 4 hours of sleep, often less and none of it was ever continuous. I woke up many times throughout the night.
School became much more difficult than I was accustomed to. I couldn’t concentrate, I would get distracted easily, and I just couldn’t remember anything. I always had to relearn what I had learned the day before because I didn’t remember any of it, I just couldn’t absorb the knowledge anymore. My marks dropped nearly 30%. I was disheartened. Now I had even less going for me. I was angry, sad, frustrated, and confused. What had happened to me?
At a younger age I was able to do quite a bit physically, though I was never going to be an athlete. I could run about half a kilometer without stopping and could help out on the farm normally by lifting heavy things and cutting the grass. But that was no longer the case. Now I couldn’t help out on the farm anymore. There was no way I could run anymore. I could hardly walk! Climbing the stairs in my own home was enough to cause me to be in need of rest and I had to stop to catch my breath. I couldn’t lift things I was able to before. Something as simple as lifting my backpack became one of the day’s greatest challenges.
Simultaneously, I was having problems socially. Fewer people were willing to hang out with me and people began to make fun of me, the teachers no longer liked me and stopped helping me. Even my family looked at me with disgust and regret. Soon I had no one. At this point crying was inevitable, it had become a weekly occurrence, and I was never one to cry. Now it seemed all that I had left was to do whatever I wanted. I did what I enjoyed. That consisted of playing video games, watching TV, and eating a massive amount of food, most of it severely unhealthy.
Somewhere along the line I was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety. I was either sad or angry most of the time. Everything I once enjoyed began to feel bland. Food wasn’t as good, it soon became close to tasteless. Video games and television became less exciting. I felt like my soul had been ripped out. I no longer felt like me, I had lost my personality. I felt like I was no more than a walking corpse.
"Eventually I actually began to enjoy the exercise, something I had never thought in my entire life was possible. To enjoy exercise?"
Unsurprisingly, I had begun to have thoughts of suicide. I wanted a way out. I felt like I was alone and I had lost everything and everyone. I had gone to several doctors, counselors, therapists, and psychologists during this time. At first, therapy alongside medication helped me feel a little more like me again, and others could see it too. But I still had far more bad than good in me. Medications stopped working and I felt just as bad as before. I felt like everyone that was trying to help me became agitated with me. Once I felt that all these doctors were no longer a safe place, I retreated back to exclusion because I felt that they no longer wanted to deal with me. I was now someone else’s problem.
Months later nothing had gotten better, I’ve only been yelled at, made fun of, and criticized even more. I felt like no one wanted me anymore and that I was in everyone’s way, just an inconvenience in their lives. I no longer wanted to live or be on this planet anymore. I began cutting myself. Not long after that I tried to kill myself. I failed. There was one thing I wanted to do in this world and I couldn’t even do that. I was a complete failure. I don’t know how long I was hospitalized for but I did not enjoy my stay. Everyone there was rude and I strongly felt that I was just in their way and that they did not actually want to help. Over time I felt like they had given up on me. I was a lost cause. Once I was released from the hospital things still had not gotten better. I tried to commit suicide once again but ultimately stopped myself. It was a lot harder than I expected. I couldn’t do it. So now what was left? No one would help me and I couldn’t kill myself. I was at rock bottom.
I was severely obese, clocking in at 296.4 lbs. My Doctor referred me to a group exercise class through Aspen Primary Care Network (PCN). Of course I didn’t want to go but the alternative was that I had to go back to the hospital on suicide watch. So I went to the class, which was 2 days a week for 1 hour each class. At first I didn’t like the exercise very much. But the people there were great! My fitness instructor, Jon LeMessurier, was there to help in a different way than how I had been helped in the past. He has his own way of doing things and he actually cares about helping his clients! He is not there to judge, he is there to make you a better version of yourself! None of his clients judge you either, they are all very friendly and all have their own unique stories. They are there to get better too, not to worry about someone else.
Eventually I actually began to enjoy the exercise, something I had never thought in my entire life was possible. To enjoy exercise? It was a weird and mystical transformation that I cannot explain, but it happened. Slowly, exercise had begun to replace my bad habits. I began to eat less junk food, play less video games, and watch less TV. The happiness I once felt enjoying these things I now feel while exercising! In fact, it is actually a new and better feeling, one that I cannot explain, it can only be felt.
I have now lost nearly 50 pounds and go to 5 of Jon’s workout classes each week! I feel great! I can think clearly again, and my memory is better than it has ever been! I no longer get terrible headaches nor do I have body aches or pains anymore! I can get a full nights rest now and have been medication free for over a year! I am able to help out on the farm again and I am physically able to do so much that I never thought would be possible for myself!
Exercise saved my life!
Jon LeMessurier saved my life!