The difference before and after a panic attack

What I look like before and after a panic attack
I was inspired by a woman in England to share a picture of what I look like before and after a panic attack.

Earlier this month, Amber Smith, 22, of Rugby, Warwickshire bravely shared a picture on Facebook of what she looks like following a panic attack. Before the panic attack, she looks like a model with pouty lips, perfect hair and clear skin. In the second picture, her teary eyes are brimmed red, her hair is a mess and she looks frightened as she covers her mouth with one hand. This picture perfectly shows how a panic attack not only affects a person mentally but also physically.

As someone who also suffers from panic attacks, I can completely relate. Seeing her picture after her panic attack, I could feel exactly what she was feeling. I have been there. My panic attacks can last anywhere from a few minutes to a couple hours. I feel tight in my chest, short of breath, light headed, queasy and I can't stop crying. And no matter how much I try to "Think positive," the panic attack only ends when it's ready. It's a force outside of myself that I can't control.

The Facebook photo of Amber has been shared more than 30,000 times. In the post, she writes:

What Amber looks like before and after a panic attack
"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 judgmental over the topic. ... 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."

She writes, "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."

I want to personally thank you, Amber, for reminding me and countless others that we are not alone. Which is why, in support of Amber bravely standing up to try and de-stigmatize mental illness, I have decided to share my own picture as well.

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