I was born in 1997, and although that wasn't all that long ago, it was exactly the right time for me to remember what it was like before Instagram, Pinterest, and a hell of a lot of pressure on what a good life ought to look like. As a kid, I only felt that crushing inadequacy from the occasional magazine I glanced at in the dentist's waiting room. As for things like "social media influencers," or entire accounts dedicated to extravagant weddings, no such thing ever really encroached on my reality.
I want to be clear from the beginning that this is not a message about being sensitive to peoples' mental illnesses. This is not a case for how one should try to help, or even why one ought to care. This is a story—a patchwork anecdote, really—of the deep disillusionment one can only understand from realizing that your life is not your own.