Former model walks back to happiness following depression

A former model and fitness fanatic became clinically depressed after experiencing chronic back and neck pain, which restricted her mobility and led to steady weight gain.

Mum-of-three Lisa Patel, had also felt isolated after her grown-up children left home and sometimes struggled to get out of bed.

It was at this point she called out for help on social media and was put in touch with personal trainer and life coach Yvonne Bignall.

The pair literally approached recovery one step at a time – by walking. Lisa now trains puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and has never been happier.


Lisa, 56, said: “I felt like my whole life had no point and I felt very depressed. It got to the point where I wouldn’t leave the house unless I had someone to meet.

“It seemed like there wasn’t enough in my life to keep me busy or to move forward. I would stay in my pyjamas for days and sometimes I couldn’t get out of bed. I was quite ill.”

Her children have grown up and left the family home, while her husband works abroad in the ever changing world of retail.

He has faced several redundancies and relocations over the years and Lisa had moved with him until now, as she wanted to settle down, so they maintain a long distance relationship.

While living as an expat in Asia, Lisa had an active social life and would exercise up to two hours a day.


The keen climber said: “I used to be super fit and slim. But I now have spinal issues and I can’t do what I used to. I put on a lot of weight and didn’t like my physical self.

“I struggled to come to terms with ageing and had a terrible body image. But now I recognise that beauty comes from within and focus on other things.”

Lisa often felt lonely but did not want to tell people about it. She said: “I would come home to an empty home and had no one to speak to about what was going on in my head. I felt very alone and I knew something needed to change.”


Lisa had visited a doctor and been prescribed medication, but it was not enough to get her on track. So, she put a post on LinkedIn asking for help – and met Yvonne, an award-winning personal development and life motivator.

Yvonne ‘talked and walked’ with Lisa to uncover the stumbling blocks she was facing and the dreams she would like to realise.

Lisa said: “Yvonne listens attentively. I felt cherished and she helped me to see what I had to offer. She would also set tasks and it all helped me to get active and love myself again.”

Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

Lisa has since strengthened her social network, taken up hobbies and started charity work through Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

Lisa, who loved dogs as a child, took on Rolo as a seven-week-old puppy. He is now eight-months-old and she will train him until he is one, when he will start advanced training.

Lisa said: “Rolo goes everywhere with me – be it to the cinema or even to yoga classes.

“I’ve met hundreds of people through this work. It’s a way for me to help others, get out and about and better value myself. I think I’m the happiest person on earth.”

Physical activity and mental clarity

Yvonne said: “It’s this combination of physical activity and being outdoors that aids mental clarity and focus.

“It provides the perfect setting for letting go of unwanted thoughts and feelings that might be holding you back. This is incredibly powerful and can transform a person’s life experience.”

Yvonne Bignall, Lisa Patel and Rolo.
About Angela Belassie 68 Articles
Angela Belassie runs PR The Write Way to help small to medium sized organisations get coverage and raise their profile.