LIFESTYLE

How Fitness Turned This Woman's Life Around After Surviving Two Horrific Freak Accidents

27/05/2015 16:10 BST | Updated 27/05/2015 17:59 BST

A woman, who survived two freak accidents within the space of a month, has revealed how fitness helped turn her life around.

On 30 December 2009, Kellie Mencel fell asleep while driving. The 17-year-old woke up heading towards a pine forest and ended up trapped in her overturned vehicle, which had rolled five times.

Then, just over a week later, she was involved in an accident which was even more "horrifying".

Shaken by the car accident, Mencel visited her family's holiday home to help take her mind off the accident.

But disaster struck when she went to go water skiing and found that the boat wouldn't start. Moments later, it exploded.

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Speaking to BuzzFeed news, Mencel revealed: "I remember the flames coming towards my eyes and all I could do was close them. I tried to jump out of the boat into the water but I slipped. I looked back to see my dad and my legs were on fire."

The explosion left her severely burnt and, as a result, the healing process took years. Mencel also had to learn to walk again and, even two years after the ordeal, her burnt skin had to be fully covered when out in the sun.

Throughout this period of her life, Mencel revealed that she tried to act like a strong person, but deep down she was dealing with PTSD, depression and anxiety.

However five years on and things are finally looking up for Mencel, who is now a fitness instructor.

A photo posted by Kellie Mencel (@kelliemencel) on

A photo posted by Kellie Mencel (@kelliemencel) on

“Living an active and healthy lifestyle has been my saviour," Mencel, who is now 22, revealed.

The personal trainer is studying fitness and nutrition and says that exercise is the most effective anti-depressant, which is something she wants to pass on to her clients.

Previous studies have found links between depression and exercise. The Huffington Post reports that a study published in February found women who were physically active showed fewer signs of depression, when compared to inactive women.

"The most rewarding thing in the world for me is helping people achieve their goals, release all those endorphins and to feel good about themselves! It’s what I love and am so passionate about!"

Mencel now documents her fitness journey on Instagram and shares motivational quotes for her 6,600 followers.

Writing on her Instagram account, she said: "I'm so grateful for everything life has thrown at me because it has made me the person I am today. I'm determined and motivated to make my dreams a reality.

"The scars I have today are what keeps me strong. A guardian angel saved me two times, I'm here for a reason. Thank you to all the wonderful people who have helped we overcome this hardship."

A photo posted by Kellie Mencel (@kelliemencel) on

[H/T BuzzFeed]