A twenty-year old college student spends hours each day scrolling on her phone. She has thousands of followers on her different profiles. She’s young and smart, beautiful and technologically savvy. When she does go out, it’s with other girlfriends and they spend more time posing for photos and pretending to laugh than actually talking. She spends most of her time alone in her room taking photos of herself in different outfits and shooting videos of herself talking to her ‘fans.’ It hasn’t been lost on her that the more skin she shows the more her number of followers goes up. But, so do the unsolicited photos and hateful comments. Twice last week a complete stranger made her cry.
Her grades in school are excellent. She’s compelled to make all A’s because, in her mind, her GPA is a reflection of her worth and those grades will help her get ahead someday. She has to admit that she’s not really sure what she’s learned because she figures most of the stuff they’re trying to teach her is pointless anyway. Besides, she tells herself, it’s really going to be the grades and not what she remembers that helps her get an internship later. One time, she got her calendar mixed up and she flunked a test because she didn’t study. Later that night she had a full-blown panic attack. Thank god her roommate had a Xanax.
Her personal life has been a handful of short relationships with guys that were simply lacking in one way or another. She tried dating apps, but she was more entertained swiping profiles on her phone than she was on actual dates. Besides, nobody wants anything serious anymore and one night stands lost their excitement after a couple of months. Nobody ever met her expectations. Like everything else, it was just a series of disappointments.
Her online life is purely exhibitionism while connecting with people in meaningful relationships is becoming more and more difficult. She hates talking on the phone and will ignore text messages for days. The number of people she’ll message back is getting smaller and smaller though she constantly monitors her online engagement. Going outside is becoming harder and harder. Some days it’s almost impossible to get out of bed.
She does have a couple of dogs who are the love of her life. They’re a pain in the ass, but they give her all the attention she thinks she could ever want. Most of her nights are spent on the couch, wrapped in a blanket with them beside her. Her anxiety and consumption of wine is growing day by day and she doesn’t understand why.