Amber Smith posted two photos to Facebook last Sunday. The first featured her dressed up as she normally would be on social media, with "make up done, filters galore." The second showed her immediately post-panic attack.
Smith, a resident of the U.K., was diagnosed with anxiety three years ago. According to the CDC, anxiety is characterized by excessive and unrealistic worrying about everyday tasks. While anxiety is common — and women are 60 percent more likely than men to experience it over their lifetime — Smith's friends didn't realize that she had it.
"I kind of reached a point where I recently wasn't feeling too good with everything and I got forced to go out with some friends," she told ABC News. "[My friends] kept saying, 'Why are you late for this...?' The whole time they didn't know that I've been at home feeling nauseous, panicky, feeling sick and just generally not in a good place."
That is why she posted the two Facebook photos, including the one where she had a panic attack. She added a heartfelt message aimed at raising awareness for her condition.
"I'm so sick of the fact that it's 2016 and there is still so much stigma around mental health," she wrote on Facebook. "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.'"
Smith also included a message of hope on Facebook to people who live with anxiety attacks.
"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."
After Smith's Facebook post went viral, she told ABC News that she received numerous "beautiful" and "lovely" messages from people demonstrating their support.