Lowest Point

Jess at Half of Jess wrote today about her highest weight and lowest point. She ends her post asking:
What was your lowest point?
What made you decide to change your life?

Oddly enough I don't remember too much about my highest weight, at least in terms of how it affected me emotionally.  I know I was unhappy, but it was never the depth of how far I could be depressed.  Losing my mom held that place solidly.

But I have two lowest points -- one was physical and the other was emotional.

Emotionally, it was realizing that a guy was okay with using me for sex (and I was okay with letting him) but was not okay to actually date me and have a relationship with me.  I was an embarrassment of sorts.  That realization made me quite sad for myself, and made me wonder if I was selling myself short.  This lead to the great celibacy pledge of 2006, which has continued in 2007, 2008, 2009 and into 2010.  It's not what lead me to want to change physically, but it was what gave me a backbone...

...which leads me to my lowest point physically, which was emotionally very trying and physically exhausting. 

Imagine being at work, in the bathroom, and unable to get up from the toilet.  Being able to sit was hard enough, but getting up...my back was not having any of it.  Now I know I've talked about my back injury before, but I haven't really explained it.  The long of the short of it is:
  • 1997:  in high school gym a linebacker body checked me into a wall accidentally
  • Feb 1999:  in college, I got up from a lab table, and couldn't stand up; orthopedist asked me if i had too much rough sex (was a virgin)
  • 2006: (Aug.) started experiencing sciatica; doctor told me to lose weight and get stronger core muscles; (Sept.) did physical therapy; (Oct.) joined a gym, got a trainer
  • March 2007:  Went to concert where I was pulled down in audience, landed awkwardly on someone’s foot and equipment, and had seven people fall on me; MRI shows annular tears, bulging discs in L3-L4, L4-L5, and L5-S1; no exercise allowed
  • Turns out that not only did I have a traumatic injury (they could also see where my tailbone was fractured from a freak accident in 1993) but I also had the familial (my mom had a very bad back) genetic degenerative disc disease.  In other words, my spine was aging faster than I was. 
For the next three months, I wasn't able to stand up straight.

I developed plantar fasciitis in both feet. I needed Valium and Vicodin to sleep. I was hobbling home every day from work in pain, shoving ice packs down the back of my pants the minute I got through the door.  During this time I did two rounds of epidural steroids that left my body weak.  I put on some weight from (1) not being able to move and (2) the horrible depression that comes with feeling like a 60 y/o in a 26 y/o body.

I think worst of all was when my friends didn't quite grasp what I was going through.  I think most people thought it was like having sore muscles.  Few people realized that just about everything I did caused pain -- from sleeping, to sitting in a chair, to washing dishes at the sink, to carrying home groceries.  Fewer people offered to help, and I wasn't at the point where I knew how to ask.

I still go through periods of time where either my back hurts me or because of my back the mechanics of another body part are off (such as my knee). But it's because of this injury, I know just how tough I am.  I have the resolve of a Spartan.  My mom dealt with the pain of her bad back by drinking, but I knew I wouldn't go the same route.

But truly, the lowest point I had was wondering how the hell I was going to get out of that bathroom stall.  Would I need someone to come under the door, unlock the stall, and pull me up (along with my pants).  Would it be a friend or someone random?  Would I have to go through this every day?  I just sat there and cried -- out of pain, out of embarrassment, and out of feeling helpless.

Now, you don't really rebound from a low point like that in a normal way.  You take a deep breath and realize that (1) any day you're walking is a good one (2) that a spinal fusion could be lurking around any corner and (3) given both of those things, might as well take advantage of the good days you can walk and try to run.

It's cute and funny when a thin, pretty woman is injured and needs help getting out of the bathroom.
It's not as funny when it's the obese woman.

Who would ever want a broken woman?


Ok, that is pretty low. Having your body not work like you want it to and can't just will it better is terrible. Has the weight loss helped at all with the pain? Nope it's not the least bit cute now is it. I remember people offering a seat on the bus to the pregnant lady beside me but I was left standing there, 4 months more pregnant than her but when you're fat it blends in.

I must say I really adored the line "I wasn't at the point where I knew how to ask." That was poignant.



Losing weight helps in some ways and not in others. In order for me to lose the weight, I have to aggravate the heck out of my back. But the recovery time is getting better and better. There are just things I want to do, but can't. I can imagine yoga being good, but if I were to twist the wrong way, or fall, then that's the end of me.

I've had people offer me seats b/c they thought i was pregnant. Well, never in my life. FWLIW, I'dve offered you a seat :)

I don't think many people know how to ask for help. We're taught to be self sufficient and not ask for things we need them. It took a while to wrap my head around the fact that my back hurting wasn't a failing on my part.


Thank you for telling your story. You're an inspiration who keeps going! And about your comment, yoga pulls my back all the time. Generally it's me who's overexerting myself while watching a tape, so maybe a class where someone is watching you would be better.


I so hear you on the guy using thing - that's sounds like me to a tee, what disturbs me most is not so much the fact that I was ok with it ( to a point) but that I would regale my (so called) friends with the tales of my mis-adventure. I think back on that time now with great sadness for the poor girl (me) who hid the fact that she knew what she was doing behind laughter and alcohol. I'm still not completely at peace with it, but am working on it!


Things like this make you a stronger person. I went through back problems also, losing weight has helped get rid of my back problems-its amazing how something like that helps.


Mertle: I've done yoga with a spotter -- couldn't walk normally for 3 weeks :( So it's all about knowing the limitations of my body :(

Andrea: I told you a while ago that I understood where you were coming from -- now you know why. I think i was doing it b/c If guys had sex with me, well at least I was being touched... It was an epiphany that good sex is when someone gives something to you, and all the other sex out there was when people wanted to take something away. I'm working on it too.

Molly: All i know is that if/when I have to have a spinal fusion, I won't have any regrets.


I've been that broken woman and it sucks. Unless you have a bleeding flesh wound no one really realizes that you are still injured and no one knows how much pain you are in.

It's so hard letting people know that you're not okay and asking for help. I totally identified with what you said.


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