We're all guilty of filtering our lives through social media—showing only the most aesthetic food, the best of the 500 selfies we just took, and the Friday nights we spend out and about rather than Netflix-and-chilling with a bottle of wine and our pets. But one girl is using social media to show that what you see isn't always the truth, and to shed some light on what mental illness looks like.
Amber Smith of the U.K. shared a photo with two selfies: one that she captioned, "dressed up, make up done, filters galore. The 'normal' side to me" and another "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."
Her post has gotten over 17,000 shares on Facebook (and is still trending)—partially because of the photos, and partially because of the powerful words she used to take a stand against the shame surrounding mental illness.
"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," Smith wrote in the post.
She points out that mental illness is super common—in fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 29 percent of the adult population suffers from an anxiety disorder at some point in their life. Yet, Smith says: "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 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."
Smith isn't the only one taking a stand: There have been whole movements on social media, cupcakes dedicated to making mental illness less taboo (yes, really!), and stars like Lena Dunam who aren't afraid to admit they suffer from disorders too. (More good news: If you experience panic attacks, you can learn to spot the warning signs and take steps to help deal with them, and these yoga poses can help with overall anxiety.) So while we're moving toward making mental illness more socially accepted, we've still got a way to go.
Smith writes at the end of her post that she wants her words to be shared: "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."