Feature story: Amanda Bowen

“You’re like a machine!” was something 43 year old Mandy would often hear when friends commented on her boundless energy and zest for life. Despite a busy job working for one of the UK’s leading high street banks, Mandy would jog for up to four hours at the weekend, swim, frequent the gym in the evenings and be out partying with friends. Even on holiday she would pack her trainers and explore at a fast pace.

“I ran the London Marathon in April 2005 and just loved being fit and ‘out there’. My energy knew no bounds it seemed, and I just had fun with it!”

Then, in early 2006 (following some stressful problems in her personal life at the end of the previous year), Mandy started getting regular bouts of ‘flu and, for the first time in her career, had to take some time off work. She was often ill for weeks at a time.

“I would force myself to go to the gym after work as I thought it would make me feel better, but I just had no energy.”

After seeing her GP, Mandy was diagnosed with depression and prescribed anti-depressants to help her to cope, but instead she felt ‘drugged up’ all the time and unable to function properly.

Mandy’s battle with her depression went on for around 12 months, when finally the doctors signed her off work with stress and exhaustion.

“I took the two weeks’ sick leave and literally slept 24 hours a day. I had never felt so low or lethargic, and after my two weeks was up and I was no better, the doctor had no choice but to sign me off for another fortnight. However, it did no good, and eventually I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue and signed off for the long term.

“I was never sick. The idea of sick leave was foreign to me, and I was terrified I would be judged for not being at work, but there was nothing I could do. My body had just given up, but I was determined to find a way back to the old me, despite the underlying fear that it may never happen.”

Mandy took the time, and the small amount of energy she had, to visit the library to research her condition and try to find another way to get her health back.  Many publications went into great detail about the condition, but most concluded that the majority of people don’t recover from it, which took Mandy even further into her depression. She read that it can take a shift in personal circumstances, or one very stressful event to trigger the condition, which made perfect sense given the timing of its onset.

Then, Mandy found a book called ‘The natural way to beat depression’, which talked of the unquestionable benefit of fish oils to people suffering with depression and chronic fatigue, and mentioned Vegepa specifically as an excellent supplement, citing case studies to back up the claims.

“I was adamant that I didn’t want to continue with the medication, so was willing to give anything else a go!

“It took a good three to four months before I really noticed the full benefits of Vegepa, but I found I had the energy to start doing things again. I had been up and down for over a year, but with Vegepa I finally started to see light at the end of the tunnel. It wasn’t a miracle cure, but it gave me the ability to think clearly and provided the catalyst for me to start getting my life back on track.”

Mandy felt well enough to consider going back to work after almost two years off sick. The company had changed and so had her job, so she had to re-learn everything. In true ‘Mandy style’ however, she managed to achieve the Top Performer of the Year, for the whole country, as well as achieve a great promotion off the back of all her hard work.

“People would tell me to just accept that my life had changed and to get used to the way I felt, but I refused to give up. I knew that there had to be a way. Although I am not running marathons any more, I do swim and enjoy yoga, and I eat organic wholesome foods that are good fuel, which I cook from scratch. I take my Vegepa every day and have no intention of stopping!”

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