Fiona Howie was first referred to the club by Leanne Connolly of the Thistle Foundation in August of last year and when I was introduced to her she was suffering very badly from depression and severe anxiety with thoughts of suicide. On this initial visit to the gym she was very pale, painfully shy and nervous, clearly feeling very self conscious and uncomfortable in our environment, struggled to engage in conversation, spoke very quietly and rarely made eye contact.
We managed to persuade Fiona to become a member and she started to train. Within a short period of time I noticed that she would have her support meetings with Leanne in the cafe and she started to say hello and give us a wee smile. Then we encouraged her to take part in some classes, a thought which she found daunting but still she took part in her first and became a regular participant in the studio’s trying out most of the classes, even my Kettlebells!
Fast forward to October and I’m walking through to the function suite for the fundraiser we had on, the cafe is full of five a side football players, mobbed, Fiona stands up in front of everyone and says in a strong, confident voice ‘Gayle can I speak to you a minute’ this stopped me dead in my tracks, ‘Of Course, how can I help?’ At this point Fiona proceeds to say in front of everyone ‘ I just want to tell you how much this club has changed my life, I feel so much happier & healthier and i’m coping better with my daily life and struggles, thank you.’ Those of you who know me well will know I’m not into gushy displays of emotion but I was overwhelmed by this and immediately filled up.
I am so proud of Fiona for her achievements here, she is an incredible person who has inspired me deeply, hence my nomination of her for member of the month. Over the next few weeks Fiona, Leanne and I will be discussing mental health issues and the positive benefit of physical activity within a motivational and caring environment. Fiona will be openly talking about her darkest moments and thoughts of suicide and how she has managed to turn it all around. We are releasing articles within the local press in the run up to mental health weak 8th – 15th May and I would encourage you all to take the time to read these articles and show your support. Thank you, Gayle