Twelve years after she last stepped onto a stage, Sonia Redpath was placed in the top six of a bodybuilding competition and puts her success down to beating depression with a healthy diet and exercise.
The 42-year-old from Belford decided it was time to get fit last September and now wants to help others who are suffering.
Sonia, who is now called ‘fit mumma’ by her nine-year-old son Jason because of her achievement, has had a number of episodes of depression during her life, but has suffered particularly badly for the last three years.
At her lowest points she couldn’t get out of bed and told husband Robbie that she didn’t have the will to live.
She was prescribed anti-depressants by her GP, who also organised counselling and that was what got her into exercise again.
“The counsellor talked about using exercise as therapy,” she said.
“Then there was a particular time when I was out walking the dog with Jason and I couldn’t run up the hill.
“I went home, shut myself in the bathroom and burst into tears.
“But I decided to do something about it.”
When taking Jason to dance lesson she spoke to his teacher, Daire Fitzgerald of Alchemist Fitness, and asked if he would train her.
Her goal was to lose weight and get fit and between September and December last year she did just that.
“When I got to December Daire asked me if I would compete in bodybuilding again as I had done so well,” she said.
“I didn’t think I was strong enough to go on stage and be judged.
“And I didn’t want to do a strict diet.
“I ate healthily and I realised that certain foods played a part in how I feel.”
And on May 5, Sonia went back on stage with 11 other women, most in their 20s, at the National Amateur Body-Builders’ Association (Nabba)and was placed six out of 12.
She added: “It was just amazing to do it and it has opened so many doors for me.”
This week she has been on stage again after being gifted a place at the Speaker’s University in Heathrow to train in public speaking so she can help other people with depression.
“I want people to read my story and realise that they can go out and get help,” She said.
“The first step is admitting you need help, but unfortunately people are scared to say they have depression, it is a taboo subject.
“So far three people have asked me for help and I want to help others that are struggling.
“Most of all I wanted to inspire my son and I have done.
“I have achieved everything I set out to do.”
Sonia also has a backer to do a ‘Fit Mumma’ project for a recipe book alongside her speaker work.