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Stressed Emoji, also known as Cursed Emoji and Hyperventilating Emoji, refers to several Cursed Emoji variations, distinguished by the emoji having bloodshot eyes and pursed lips. Starting in July 2019, images and videos of the emoji, sometimes accompanied by various disturbing sounds, have been used as reactions on Twitter, Instagram and iFunny. On the Cursed Emojis chart, B1, C1, C4 and D2 are variations of the Stressed Emoji.
On February 23rd, 2019, Instagram user @paracasing posted a video of a blurred non-Unicode emoji with red eyes and tight-pressed lips shaking intensely, accompanied by the eerie ambient track "bgm42" from the fan made Yume Nikki game ".Flow" . The post has since been removed, but was re-uploaded to Paracasing's YouTube channel in June of that year, describing its origins in the description (shown below).
Paracasing did not create the emote, as confirmed by Know Your Meme via Twitter DM. The emoji is a photoshopped version of a slightly smiling Skype emoji, edited by an unknown user before being used in Paracasing's video (side-by-side comparison shown below).
On March 31st, 2019, Twitter user @cutwish made one of the earliest known uses of the image.
On July 6th, 2019, Twitter user D0nnieDark00 tweeted Paracasing's video (tweet no longer available; tweet copy shown below), with the video accumulating over 30 million views in two months.
That DTLR playlist in the early 2000’s 😫 RT
D0nnieDark00</a>: Retail workers after having to listen to maroon 5 and Ed sheernan all day <a href="https://t.co/eObbS3mKtq">pic.twitter.com/eObbS3mKtq</a></p>— Que Cumber (ShuttlesWerth) July 6, 2019
In the following days, the screenshots and videos of the tweet were posted on Reddit, Instagram and iFunny.
On the same day, Twitter user @FernandezGordon quoted the tweet, expanding the joke. The tweet gained over 114,500 retweets and 465,800 likes within two months (shown below).
On July 18th, Twitter user @blueaurorius tweeted a collection of "cursed expressions" (shown below) featuring several Stressed Emoji variations. The set was assembled with purposes of using the emojis for reference when ordering artistic commissions and was reposted and used by artists on Twitter, Tumblr and DeviantArt in the following days.
On July 20th, Twitter user @Whispershahh posted another video featuring the emoji, with the tweet accumulating over 940 retweets and 2,400 likes views in one month. On August 1st, 2019, Twitter user @artdisease used the video as a reaction for a joke, with the tweet receiving over 40,400 retweets and 210,100 likes in two weeks. The video accumulated over 3.5 million views in one month.
Me looking at the fucking. Taco Bell menu pic.twitter.com/5s1oQnNNCv
— i airplane (@Whispershahh) July 20, 2019
In the following days, @artdisease's tweet has been shared multiple times on Instagram, with more memes based on the videos of the emoji appearing on the platform in the following days.