This Woman Took Before-And-After Pics To Show The Reality Of Panic Attacks
"All I wish for is for more awareness and to help others know they are cared about and there is help around."
This is Amber Smith, a 22-year-old merchandiser from Rugby, England. Since the age of 16, she's dealt with anxiety and panic attacks, but she was only officially diagnosed three years ago.
Smith told BuzzFeed that to help her cope, she has sought out treatment through counseling and also has tried to eliminate things that cause stress and palpitations.
On April 3, Smith uploaded this split photo to Facebook. The top image shows how she presents herself on social media, while the one on the bottom shows her shortly after suffering a panic attack.
Accompanying the photo was a message from Smith addressing the issues surrounding mental illness. It reads:
God knows why I'm doing this, but people need some home truths.
Top picture: What I showcase to the world via social media. Dressed up, make up done, filters galore. The 'normal' side to me.
Bottom picture: Taken tonight shortly after suffering from a panic attack because of my anxiety. Also the 'normal' side to me that most people don't see.
I'm so sick of the fact that it's 2016 and there is still so much stigma around mental health. It disgusts me that so many people are so uneducated and judgemental over the topic. They say that 1 in 3 people will suffer with a mental illness at some point in their life. 1 in 3! Do you know how many people that equates to worldwide?! And yet I've been battling with anxiety and depression for years and years and there's still people that make comments like 'you'll get over it', 'you don't need tablets, just be happier', 'you're too young to suffer with that'
FUCK YOU. Fuck all of you small minded people that think that because I physically look 'fine' that I'm not battling a monster inside my head every single day.
Someone actually said this to me one day 'aren't you too young to be suffering with anxiety and depression? What do you actually have to be depressed about at your age?' Wow, just wow.
I'm a strong person, I've been through my fair share of crap in life (the same as anyone else) and I will be okay. I have the best family and friends around me and I am thankful everyday that they have the patience to help and support me.
To anyone who is going through the same, please do not suffer in silence. There is so much support around - Don't be scared to ask for help.
This is why I can't stress enough that it costs nothing to be nice to others. Don't bully others, don't put others down and the hardest one of them all (as we have all done it at some point) don't judge another person. We're all human regardless of age, race, religion, wealth, job. So build one another up instead of breaking each other down.
Peace & love guys ☮❤
EDIT: Please don't be afraid to share this, there needs to be more awareness. The more awareness there is, the less people who will suffer in silence. 💋
Since being posted, the pictures have been shared over 13,000 times, and several commenters have commended Smith for her honesty.
Smith said she initially posted the images to combat negativity surrounding mental health issues.
"I was inspired to post the pictures due to recently experiencing discrimination and seeing many friends and family suffering in silence," she said. "I witnessed so much negativity surrounding mental illness on social media and wanted to do something which would (hopefully) try and help break the stigma and inspire others to reach out."
She added that she's been flooded with positive replies and said many people were inspired to seek help themselves after seeing her post.
She added that ultimately she wants others dealing with mental health issues to know that other people care.