Amber Smith Shares Before and After Photos to Show Reality of Her Panic Attacks


Amber Smith experiences anxiety that sometimes leads to panic attacks — but from her social media identity, you wouldn’t know that.

On Sunday, Smith, from Rugby, England, shared a “typical” Facebook photo — a “filters galore” selfie where she’s wearing makeup and dressed to go out. “The ‘normal’ side of me,” she wrote. Underneath, she shared a photo taken shortly after having a panic attack. “Also the ‘normal’ side to me that most people don’t see…”

In the post that’s since been shared more than 2,000 times, Smith explains the stigma of an invisible condition and how people assume because she’s young and “looks fine,” she can’t possibly experience severe anxiety.

“To anyone who is going through the same, please do not suffer in silence,” she wrote. “There is so much support around – Don’t be scared to ask for help.”

 

 

You can read the full text from her post below. Editor’s note: This contains explicit language:

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’

F*CK YOU. F*ck 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.

A panic attack is the “abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes,” according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Symptoms can include an accelerated heart rate, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, chest pain, numbness, nausea and more. An estimated six million Americans have panic disorder, an anxiety disorder that causes spontaneous panic attacks with no obvious trigger, but even those without panic disorder can experience a panic attack, and for those who do, it’s a truly scary experience.

People experience panic attacks differently, so it’s important to ask a loved one experiencing one how you can best help them, rather than assume a course of action.

Related: What It’s Like to Have a Panic Attack, From 24 People Who’ve Been There

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