UK Woman’s Viral Panic Attack Photos Help Fight Mental Illness Stigma

UK Woman’s Viral Panic Attack Photos Help Fight Mental Illness Stigma

By May Wilkerson 04/13/16

“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.”

Image: 
 UK Woman’s Viral Panic Attack Photos Help Fight Mental Illness Stigma
Photo via Facebook

One woman's before-and-after photos of a panic attack have gone viral. Amber Smith of the UK shared the images on her Facebook, hoping to dispel misconceptions about the reality of mental illness.

Smith suffers from depression, anxiety and regular panic attacks. Tired of keeping them a secret, she posted the before-and-after photos to show her dramatic transformation right after a panic attack. In the first photo, she is “dressed up, make up done, filters galore. The 'normal' side to me,” she wrote in the caption. The second photo was “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.”

Smith says she posted the photos to combat the stigma around mental illness, and to show others also suffering that they are not alone. “I'm so sick of the fact that it's 2016 and there is still so much stigma around mental health,” she wrote. “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?!”

After battling anxiety and depression for “years and years,” Smith says she grew frustrated with other people’s misconceptions about her illness. “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.’”

She hopes the photos will help other people who are struggling with mental illness. “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.” She ends the photo caption with a plea for people to be kind and compassionate, and to “build one another up instead of breaking each other down.” And she urges others to share the photos to spread awareness. “The more awareness there is, the less people who will suffer in silence.”

Apparently, she got her wish. So far, the photos have been shared over 27,000 times and received comments from people sharing their own experiences with mental illness and thanking her for her honesty. “Well done for standing up and telling the world about this,” wrote one commenter. “Too many people hide mental Health and it's not right. You wouldn't hide a broken leg! Super proud that you stood up and said this.”

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
Disqus comments
May Wilkerson.jpg

May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/ @alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.

Disqus comments