The term “panic attack” is often thrown about lightly by those who haven’t experienced one and assume it simply refers to “stressing out” over an everyday life matter. However, anyone who’s actually had the pleasure of this phenomenon knows how debilitating these attacks can feel. Once an attack begins, sh*t gets real: The whole room heats up, the walls close in, and the next 15 minutes are spent hunkered down on the nearest couch, floor, or — god forbid — steering wheel.
Amber Smith of the United Kingdom regularly feels these attacks and grew tired of hiding them. She chose to post before-and-after photos (both “normal,” as she says) to show her unwanted transformation to the world. Her first image includes typical selfie fare with hair, makeup, and all the filters she prefers. The second picture shows Smith raw, shattered, and desperately wishing for the nightmare to end. Smith hopes these photos will show how anyone, even the most polished person sitting next to you, can suffer from mental illness, and you’d never realize it. Here’s her visual shout-out to the close-minded folk who think anxiety is all in one’s head.