Most of us think of abuse in terms of the physical, but emotional abuse can be just as painful. Australian writer and producer Carly Heading posted three images to her Instagram profile illustrating what emotional abuse might look like on the outside — and the powerful images are an eye-opener to the trauma some people face every day. “Just because you can’t see what someone is dealing with, doesn’t mean that it’s not with them constantly; sometimes it’s just something you can’t ignore,” Heading wrote, adding a link to a crisis hotline for good measure.
Heading created all of the shocking looks on her own. “I did all the makeup myself,” she tells Yahoo Beauty. “It is actually tissues stuck on with eyelash glue and fake blood and eye shadow.”
The 26-year-old, who says she was bullied “pretty badly” in primary school and still remembers it vividly years later, adds: “With the words, after I washed them off, it actually felt quite cleansing, like I was erasing that part of my past away…it was refreshing.”
Fans greeted her posts with gratitude and compassion. “Thank you for this; people like you make my days better,” one person wrote. “I think you’re the wisest, nicest, and kindest person ever, because it’s things like this that make my hard days better. Thank you,” another commenter echoed.
Heading wants to send a message to people who don’t think bullying is a big deal or don’t believe that it has a lasting impact. “I hope that people start to see bullying differently and realize that the pain stays with people for quite a long time,” she says. “No matter how strong someone is, sometimes words [can] break someone and it can take a while to get over that.”
Her message is a powerful one: “It is okay to show your pain, it’s okay to speak out. There are people who care about you,” she wrote. “Don’t hide your inner scars. Please know that you’re never alone.”