I would take 10-15 selfies at a time, 100-150 selfies in a day. “100 loge to dus theek ayengee… (It’s only when you take 100 selfies will you get 10 good ones).” I would then change my hair, make-up, watch selfie tutorials on YouTube, try the ‘fish face’, ‘duck face’…. then a visit to the beauty parlour for a change of hairstyle and make-up, before another round of selfies. I would update Instagram and Facebook and then wait. Sometimes I got a lot of “likes”… it was a blissful feeling, warm and fuzzy. But there were days when my friend got more “likes” than me, and those days were depressing. I didn’t know how to give up…I would end up splurging on new clothes, only to find the photo had got a thumbs down from my friends.
I was also happier meeting people on line than in the physical world. Why meet them in person if you could update them on what you ate, what you were doing, what clothes you were thinking of buying? It was so much better to update them with my carefully shot pictures rather than meet them in person. What if they thought my nose was flat or I was too ugly? In fact I stopped going out altogether because I was so comfortable in my room.
But my major panic attack would arrive when the balance on the phone was low or the coffee shop or mall I visited didn’t have good Wi-Fi. I would get agitated and throw tantrums, till my parents gave me the money to recharge the phone, or got the Wi-Fi fixed
Then she insisted I meet a counsellor. I did, reluctantly at first, but I slowly realised that we’re all addicted but just don’t know it.
It’s been four months, and I’ve disabled Facebook, Instagram, and withdrawn for a while from Whatsapp. I have stopped checking my phone every ten minutes and now look at it every two or three hours. I take fewer selfies, and have deleted my earlier obsessive pictures. It’s embarrassing to see what I spent all my time doing. But I still don’t like looking at myself in the mirror.