The urge to splash pictures of yourself dressed to the nines in stunning finery all over social media is strong. Letting the world know you grimace while plunging down a well of anxiety is not a natural instinct.
Yet, a woman from the UK named Amber Smith decided to combine both these kinds of image in a post of explosive impact.
On April 3rd, Smith posted this haunting pair of pictures:
Alongside the powerful photographs, she wrote her brave message:
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'
In the USA, the American Psychological Association claims the figure is even greater than one in three, estimating half the population in the States will suffer from a mental illness during their lifetime.
Smith, whose profile says she's from Rugby and works as a business and lifestyle coach, continued:
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 ☮❤
Just have some empathy, everyone! The post has so far amassed over 32,000 shares and numerous comments from those she's inspired.