Woman speaks out about her struggle with anxiety in effort to challenge stigma

Amber Smith's photo captures the dual experience of people who struggle with anxiety. Credit: Facebook/Amber Smith

A woman who battles with anxiety and panic attacks has spoken out about her daily ordeals in a bid to help shed the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Amber Smith, a lifestyle coach from Warwickshire, shared a post on Facebook urging people to be sensitive to those dealing with anxiety - even if they may appear fine on the outside.

"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'," she wrote.

Ms Smith posted two photographs of herself. In one, she appears confident and happy. But in the other - which her social media audience rarely gets to see - she appears terrified, having just experienced a panic attack.

Amber Smith posted her message on Facebook to help others struggling to cope with anxiety. Credit: Facebook/Amber Smith

She hit out against "small-minded people that think that because I physically look 'fine', I'm not battling a monster inside my head every single day".

Ms Smith's post attracted comments of encouragement from people who could identify with her struggle.> One commenter, Jane Aires, wrote: "With you 100%. Was really ashamed of being so weak when I was diagnosed.> "Now I know I'm not weak but just have times when I'm not as strong as I thought I was. I'm not ashamed anymore."