My Story

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We are only too aware that within our memberships at the CSR, we have a number of people that have stories to tell that are inspirational and would be of great interest to others. It gives us great pleasure to be able to highlight some of these achievements to our members. This is "My Story".


2015 was a very traumatic year for me and as a result I was diagnosed with depression. I was very down and I struggled to find motivation to do anything. I turned to the University Counselling Service for help. They were able to offer me an emergency appointment, which was great. In one of my sessions with the Counselling Service they referred me to the CSR, as the councillor explained how important it is to have an outlet for exercise and how beneficial it can be for mental health.

I had previously used the facilities in the CSR but it was only for social sports such as 5-a-side football and squash. As part of my struggles over the last year, I was diagnosed with patellar tendonitis, which then stopped me partaking in social sports.

The Counselling Service had set-up an appointment with Seona, the Health & Fitness Co-Ordinator at the CSR, via a student referral scheme. We chatted about everything and I found this to be very helpful. Seona wanted to know what I wanted to get from attending the gym and I said that I wanted to achieve 3 main points: to build up strength and improve my knee injury, improve my mental health, and general physical improvement and to enjoy exercise. Seona put me in contact with Marcus, the Health & Fitness Instructor at the CSR, for a Personal Training session within the CV Suite. 

I was pretty hesitant at first because I had never used the gym facilities before and I found the prospect quite daunting but I was willing to try anything. Marcus was patient and understanding and helped me to work on my strength without causing any further damage to my injury. Marcus provided me with an exercise plan and advice on how to use the gym equipment.

My work had granted me some time to be at home but although I struggled with motivating myself to go out, I knew that sitting doing nothing would not improve things. Attending the CSR helped me combat this as I could attend the gym in the morning because it would be generally quieter at that time and I would feel that m actions were not being scrutinised. I then found myself going into work after each workout, as I felt I had achieved something for that day.

Over time I became more comfortable using the gym facilities and at busier times. Chats that I would have with Marcus and the other gym staff also helped. It was reassuring to know that there was always someone to turn to if wanted a bit more help and understanding of the equipment, and the staff are always willing to help and are friendly. I find the space of the CSR gym to be very calming and warm, which has also helped me feel more comfortable in a gym environment.

At present, I visit the gym a couple of times a week and do a mix of free weights and cardio. I feel stronger, confident, and healthier and have found my appetite again, which I had lost. The CSR also helps me to clear my head and reflect.

The CSR has allowed me to improve my wellbeing, fitness and recovery.  Both the University’s Counselling Service and the CSR have contributed to my journey of getting to a better place. I am still attending the Counselling sessions, which I find to be very useful, and I am back to working routinely and much better. I am now close to regaining full fitness and although I’m starting to take part in social sports again, I now recognise the importance of wellbeing as a whole, looking after myself.

 At a time when I was really struggling, the Counselling Service was available to me and I feel very lucky. I don’t think a lot of the University community are aware of the University services available to them. 

It was hard to find the first step but the support available through CSR has enabled me to do that, and I am really grateful for all of the support that I have been given.

 Hamish MacDonald, student member of the CSR.


Do you know of anyone that has an inspirational story that they would like to share with others? If so, please contact Louise Darroch (