Annie’s #LoveSwimming Story

A woman from Loughborough says that being able to “switch off” when swimming helped her to maintain a positive outlook when she faced mental health difficulties following a challenging epilepsy diagnosis.

The anxiety Annie Brooks had experienced for many years was heightened when she was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2012. But she credits a return to the pool with helping her achieve a more positive frame of mind.

Annie has shared her story as part of the latest #LoveSwimming campaign, which aims to encourage women to embrace the mental wellbeing benefits of swimming.

She said: “I’ve always suffered from anxiety and low confidence. My diagnosis with epilepsy was lengthy, which made me feel very low.

“When I was finally diagnosed, I signed up to do a triathlon to raise money for an epilepsy charity. This meant I had to get back in the pool and start swimming again.

“I find I can just switch off when I’m in the water and, before I know it, whatever was bothering me isn’t anymore.

“It’s been a good few years since I started swimming again and I feel so much more confident in myself. It’s had a huge impact on my mental health and I’ve found something I really enjoy.

Reduced symptoms

Annie’s story comes as new research showed that 1.4 million adults in Britain felt swimming had significantly reduced their symptoms of anxiety or depression.

The YouGov poll, commissioned by Swim England, also showed that almost half a million (492,000) British adults with mental health conditions who swim say they have reduced the number of visits to a medical professional regarding their mental health and more than 490,000 people have reduced, or no longer take, medication for their mental health condition as a result of swimming.

#LoveSwimming ‘Escape’

The industry-wide #LoveSwimming ‘Escape’ campaign centres on a film showing the extremes of fast-paced modern life, and the impact it can have on mental health, in contrast with the unique environment offered by swimming.

Use Poolfinder to find a pool near you and tell us why you #LoveSwimming.