A woman who sank so deep into depression she couldn’t get out of bed, is now helping others fight their demons.
After working every waking hour as a high-flying lawyer, Angela Foster thought living life in the fast lane was worth the investment for the lifestyle and luxury holidays it provided.
But when she found herself in hospital fighting for her life with double pneumonia, after a battle with her mental health ravaged her health, she was desperate for a change.
Speaking to Uspire, Angela explained: “I loved the thrill of achieving success for myself and my high-paying clients. I always wanted to give more, do more in every area of life.
“That was, until after having my three children. In the early days after them, I ignored the signs of postpartum depression. That was something ‘other women’ experienced.
“I put it down to just being tired, knackered with three children under four-years-old.”
During a visit to the osteopath for realignment following back pain from breastfeeding, Angela was warned that she needed rest and her adrenal glands (small glands located on top of each kidney that produce essential hormones we need) were exhausted.
However, she pushed on and soon Angela’s hair began to fall out.
She explained: “Behind those smiles and good morning pleasantries on the school run, was a growing darkness inside me, cloaking my every thought and being.
“As the months and years went on, it felt like the sun didn’t shine anymore. Even on the brightest, most glorious day everything to me still felt numbingly grey.
“I was eventually diagnosed with chronic depressive disorder and placed on bipolar medication under psychiatric care at the Priory Hospital.
“With three different types of medication, it still took two hours with repeated calls of ‘Mummy, please’ for my four-year-old to drag me out of bed. Getting my eldest son to school on time was an achievement. The days blurred into weeks and months.”
Despite the gravity of the situation, Angela struggled to ask for help and she spiralled.
Then one spring day, she developed a cough and a fever that unbeknown to her would change her life forever.
Angela said: “I carried on until my breathing became harder and the fever made it even more difficult to get out of bed.
“A chest X-ray revealed the possibility of bronchiectasis with an urgent referral to a lung specialist. As he showed me the grey-mottled photo, through the fog of my fever, I kept hearing him mentioning my lymph glands again and again.
“I finally asked him outright, in disbelief, if he thought I might have lung cancer. He replied: ‘It’s hard to prove otherwise without a CT scan.’”
Within an hour, Angela was scanned and back in his office being shown the results and the news that viral and bacterial pneumonia had spread to both lungs.
Angela was whisked to hospital, and faced with death, she realised how much she actually wanted to live and see her children grow up.
This gave her the will to fight the illness, and after making a full recovery with minimal long-term damage to her lungs, Angela discovered a new lease of life.
She said: “I retrained as a health and performance coach and nutritional therapist. I read hundreds of books and scientific papers on how to optimise every aspect of my mental and physical health, seeking out the world’s best mentors and teachers. I rebuilt my mind and body using a combination of ancestral wisdom, modern science, and biohacks.”
Angela now shares her knowledge with those in need, focusing on prevention.
Speaking about her top tips, she said: “Number one has to be exercise. Move your body every single day.
“You can use online guided programmes, exercise releases endorphins which reduce anxiety and lifts your mood.
“Next is quality sleep, it is very important for mental health.
“I would also say be proactive in taking care of your health, for example eating healthily and getting outside in the garden or on your balcony to soak up Vitamin D from the sun.
“When anxious, focus on breathing. Do this by counting in for six then out for eight. Your breath is the easiest way to engage the parasympathetic nervous system and relax.”
Angela also recommends DNA tests, which can help us learn about personalised needs and our predispositions to promote individual physical and mental wellness.
For more info, click here: Angela Foster.
For confidential advice, visit Samaritans and/or call 116 123 for free.