Instagram Compensation Disorder

Posted by Christie Szymanowski | Apr 30, 2018 | Anxiety, Fake News, News, Social Media Anxiety Disorder of the Week | 0 |

Who wouldn’t want to be Instagram famous? You’ve seen the luxurious lives that social media influencers lead. Flying all over the world. Relaxing at five-star resorts. Sipping three-hundred dollar bottles of wine on a Sicilian balcony. It’s the dream: Be Pretty. Travel. Take Pictures. Make Money.

And while some of these “influencers” make six figures a year just by traveling and posting to Instagram, most of us aren’t that lucky. Maybe we get to go on vacation once or twice a year, but usually, we just post pictures of our pets and food.

However, there are some who take that dream of snapping pics in San Tropez to a whole other level… and rake up thousands of dollars in debt doing so. Recently it was revealed that attempted social media influencer Lissette Calveiro, a twenty-six-year-old from New York, racked up over ten-thousand dollars in debt by traveling the world trying to become Instagram famous. She’s posted pictures all the way from the Sahara Desert to Mexico City.

The benefits, unfortunately, did not outweigh the cost.

Countless people have attempted to gain Instagram fame, but only a handful has actually managed it. We spoke to a few people who have invested a lot of time, money and energy into cultivating a personal brand on Instagram, and they seem to say the same thing: stay away.

Becky Shilling is a self-described “recovering Instagramholic” who’s accumulated even more debt than Calviero, though she refused to disclose exactly how much. “It’s easy to get sucked into the lifestyle,” she said. “First you’re just going out to five-star, Gordon Ramsey-approved restaurants and taking pictures of your hundred dollar meal. Before you know it, you’re paying for a spa day. Then you’re putting flights to Fiji on your Capital One card. What’s in your wallet, they ask? Well, thanks to Instagram and Capital One, there’s nothing in my wallet!”

We spoke to Jon Romano, a psychologist who studies Instagram-related psychological disorders at the International Center for Selfie Addiction, about what causes people to be willing to go into debt for a few followers.

“There are a lot of different factors involved,” he said. “First, you see other people doing it – people your age – and think ‘hey, I think I could be Insta-famous, too.’ Then you try it. And you end up getting a lot more likes on your posts than you’re used to. Not that you’re getting the thousands that would be necessary to be considered Insta-famous, but it’s enough for you to want to keep going. You’re always chasing that next follower and thinking your next post will be your big break.”

The International Center for Selfie addiction calls this disease “Instagram Compensation Disorder,” because people generally post pictures that show a happy snapshot of their life that doesn’t match up with reality. Thankfully, Romano has advice for people suffering from Instagram Compensation Disorder.

“Go ahead and show your world through rose-colored glasses; that’s what we all do. But don’t try to one-up everyone. Be honest about your life. You might not be able to afford a trip to Paris, but you can get a lot of beautiful shots closer to home.”


If you or a loved one you know is having any mental health struggles, please do get the help you need. If you need to talk to someone now, you can talk to one of the many fantastic therapists at Better Help by CLICKING HERE.


This post was created with the help of Grammarly.

Photo Credit: Dodo Dodo


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