AN AYR woman has said that cold water exposure has helped her transform her life.

Brooke Lilly, 20, was diagnosed with anxiety and depression when she was 15, shortly after she moved school.

She then started weekly therapy sessions but didn’t find it helpful for herself, and struggled to find a way to cope with her feelings.

It wasn’t until Brooke took her first dip in the cold water, after finding a wild swimming group, that she found a way to regain control of her feelings.

She went to Ayr beach with the wild swimming group and readied herself to take her first dip.

Since then she has never looked back.

Brooke told the Advertiser: “The second my toes touched the water, there was an instant rush of adrenaline through my body.

“Getting over the first dip is definitely the hardest one, it’s such a mental battle due to the fear of the cold but from that point onwards I knew it was just my mind telling me I couldn’t when my body was proving I really could.

“From then on I was hooked, and it really is so addictive, the boost of endorphins you get when you’re in the water taking in the views around you is just crazy.”

Currently at university studying to be a midwife, Brooke has become an advocate for cold water exposure, citing the various mental and physical benefits she has experienced since taking up her new hobby.

Brooke added: “The main benefit for me has to be the way it boosted my belief in myself.

“Anyone can benefit from this, and It’s not just for people who are struggling with mental health.

“Those people that are thinking it’s crazy and would never do it are probably the people that would benefit most from it.

“Stepping out of your comfort zone is where real change is made.

“It’s also a great way to travel and find new places.”

Brooke now hopes that other people, in a similar situation to the one she was in, can learn from her experience.

She has plans to travel to many more picturesque places across the country to sample the cold water experiences on offer.

She added: “Things will always get better, no matter what your fears are stopping you from doing. If you’re having problems with your mental health or physical health, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

“I thought poor mental health would control me my whole life and I never imagined going a day without it being there, but the second I took my first dip in that water I knew I’d taken control back.”

Brooke details her journey via her dedicated Instagram page ‘lil self love space’, where she hopes she can help other people deal with their struggles and continue to teach her followers about the benefits of cold water exposure.