While progress is definitely being made fighting the misconceptions that surround mental health, there's no denying that we still have a long way to go. To help fight this stigma, Amber Smith recently took to Facebook to share photos from before and after some of her anxiety attacks — to show doubters just how real it is.
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.
The rest of her caption reads:
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 ☮
The post has since been shared over 11,000 times. Among the comments are dozens of messages of support:
Following all the attention the post received, Smith edited the post to include then following message:
"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."