Cheeky as ever, model turned presenter Lisa Snowdon doesn’t hold back when discussing intimate moments.
‘I often take Deepak to bed with me at night,’ she tells me when we speak, shortly before she jumps aboard a flight to Los Angeles for her latest photoshoot.
‘I love that man so much. I lie on my back, breathing deeply and listening to his voice.’ This comes as a bit of a shock: I’d understood Lisa was engaged – to 38-year-old entrepreneur George Smart.
Today Lisa seems entirely stress-free and enthusiastic. But the attitude hasn’t come easy
So I’m relieved when it turns out that the 45-year-old This Morning regular isn’t referring to bedroom antics, but rather to her favourite meditation guru Deepak Chopra – whose sessions help Lisa ward off the grey clouds of a once dark and thunderous depression.
‘Deepak is my favourite meditation coach,’ she says. ‘He plants these seeds in my consciousness and the next morning I instantly feel more positive and energised.’
Today Lisa seems entirely stress-free and enthusiastic. But the attitude hasn’t come easy. Almost three years ago, she was diagnosed with depression and has since learnt to manage it with the help of therapy, antidepressants and an energising exercise routine.
A string of what she calls ‘terrible’ relationships – some abusive – and the lingering trauma of her parents’ marriage breakdown when she was a teenager took its toll on Lisa’s mental health. ‘I went on holiday alone early in 2015 and I felt really, really unhappy,’ she says. ‘One day, I called one of my girlfriends and just said, “I think I need to get some help.” ’
A string of what she calls ‘terrible’ relationships – some abusive – and the lingering trauma of her parents’ marriage breakdown when she was a teenager took its toll on Lisa’s mental health (above, Lisa with George Clooney in 2004)
It didn’t come as a surprise to Hertfordshire-born Lisa.
‘From my teenage years I’ve been attracted to men I shouldn’t have been attracted to. It left me quite damaged,’ she admits.
Lisa famously – and by all accounts very happily – dated Hollywood idol George Clooney in the mid-noughties but has also been open about how turbulent some of her other relationships have been.
The model – who was scouted at 19 – doesn’t dwell on the traumatic events of her past
Today though the model – who was scouted at 19 – doesn’t dwell on the traumatic events of her past.
They are behind her and her message is one of positivity and empowerment, of having a healthy body and mind. Despite this, she realises now she should have spoken out more about her depression at the time – and encourages others in the same situation to do so.
‘I should have talked to someone about ten to 15 years ago, but I didn’t – I thought I needed to get on and deal with it. But it gets to the point when you can’t do that any longer.’
For Lisa, that point came during her daily slot hosting Capital Radio’s morning breakfast show in 2013. ‘I constantly felt empty and lost,’ she tells me.
‘It didn’t take much for me to cry. Little things would make me pop and I struggled to handle any stress.
’I’d get into work in the winter at 5.30am and it would be dark. All the way through my working day I would be in darkness. That had a knock-on effect on me.’
As well as investing in a mood-boosting therapy lamp, Lisa contacted a counsellor and a cognitive behavioural therapist and embarked on what she calls ‘project me’.
‘I saw a therapist once a week for a few months and a counsellor every couple of weeks or when I felt I needed to. They were both very helpful, but very different.’
Lisa had cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), the most commonly prescribed therapy by NHS GPs.
Lisa had cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), the most commonly prescribed therapy by NHS GPs
Recommended for anxiety, depression, OCD and eating disorders, it helps patients to identify unhelpful or distressing thought patterns that lead to negative emotions and destructive behaviours.
Research suggests that CBT can be effective in the short-term for bouts of depression, but recent research involving 2,500 depressive patients, conducted at the University of Norway, found that the therapy achieved minimal decreases in depressive symptoms over several years – predominantly for women.
But two years after receiving her final CBT session, Lisa remains free from misery.
Her successful recovery, she says, was helped by her sessions. However therapy alone wasn’t enough to pick Lisa up from rock bottom and ‘stop my brain firing in the wrong way’.
Recommended for anxiety, depression, OCD and eating disorders, it helps patients to identify unhelpful or distressing thought patterns that lead to negative emotions and destructive behaviours
She says: ‘Sometimes I would leave therapy and cry because it ruined my day, but I knew I’d have to revisit painful situations for it to be beneficial.’
Lisa’s private therapist suggested she start on a course of drug treatment, too. ‘I wasn’t happy about going on anti-depressants,’ she says.
But her six-month course was undoubtedly beneficial. Lisa says: ‘In the end, it was good for me and helped me to think clearer.
‘Because of the trauma, certain parts of my brain weren’t functioning in the right way so it needed rebalancing.’
And while some may be reluctant to admit to their use of ‘happy pills’, Lisa is anything but ashamed. ‘I never saw it as a weakness,’ she says. ‘You go to the doctor when you’re hurt physically; if there’s something wrong with your mind you should do the same. Sometimes we all need a little tune-up.’
These days, she swears by vigorous exercise and a morning dose of Mikei Red Reishi Essence – a Japanese herbal remedy that claims to boost the immune system.
The skip in her step may also have something to do with her ‘lovely’ fiance, Yorkshire-born Smart. After a 15-year friendship, they began dating in November 2015 and he popped the question at Christmas.
She says: ‘I have a very lovely, happy home with him.
‘But no one needs a man in their life to feel happy,’ she adds.
‘Girlfriends were a great support too. But really, I had to do it for myself.
‘At the end of the day it’s not about anyone else, it’s about me.’
:: Lisa is the new face of health supplement Mikei, available from haeon.com.