"How's it feel to be broken up with by the Overly Attached Girlfriend?"
July 25, 2019 7:56 AM   Subscribe

Laina Morris, who became famous as the "Overly Attached Girlfriend" via a viral video in 2012, announced this week that she was departing YouTube . In an emotional announcement video, she spoke at length about depression, anxiety, and the problems that come with internet fame. Her video included clips from her private video journal, filmed over the past seven years, which documenting her mental health challenges, her search for help, and the pressure she felt to constantly perform for her online fans.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow (11 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Those private videos were really hard to see and had to have been even harder to decide to make public. She was like 20 years old when she became internet famous and remembering my own early 20s, I cannot imagine the toll that would have taken on me, mentally. Glad to see she's addressing her issues in what seems like a healthy way and I hope she'll be okay
posted by Maaik at 8:23 AM on July 25 [15 favorites]


Laina's brave for talking about her struggles so honestly. Think about what it's like to have to live as a meme. The fact that most of us know her as "Overly Attached Girlfriend" and not by her real name. It's exposure and erasure at the same time. Good for Laina for putting health before fame. I'm glad she's taking care of herself.
posted by roger ackroyd at 8:35 AM on July 25 [7 favorites]


There is a reason some celebrities become absolutely nuts after blowing up and others don't. I don't understand why people think being YouTube famous is any different, psychologically. In fact, I can see it being far, far worse for one's mental health. Not blaming of course, just curious why people seem to be shocked by these sorts of outcomes.
posted by Young Kullervo at 8:51 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


She seems like a completely different person from the OAG, and even though I knew that it was a character, it's still really startling to see the difference. I was always pretty discomfited with the OAG, as it seemed to play into a negative stereotype, with the sanpaku eyes and everything. I'm glad that she's breaking away from it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:15 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this. I don't want to make this about me, so I will be vague: Being a creative in the Internet age takes a toll on the soul. One has an unprecedented opportunity to reach an audience, but that audience can sometimes seem like a relentless, unforgiving, amorphous blob of bile and contempt. And platforms like YouTube and Patreon are mastering the use of algorithms and incentives to squeeze the most out of their human participants, which seriously amplifies the taxation of the psyche.

Please, please, please, if there is an artist or project you admire, be it a podcast, webcomic, long-form, YouTube, or anything else: Send them words of kindness and encouragement. It may seem silly, but some days such sentiments are balm for the 999 cuts from the impatient, hypercritical, entitled, vocal minority.
posted by Hot Pastrami! at 9:27 AM on July 25 [37 favorites]


Hot Pastrami!: but that audience can sometimes seem like a relentless, unforgiving, amorphous blob of bile and contempt.

I remember a software developer saying once that the people who used their paid products were generally polite and reasonable, while the people who used their free products were incredibly demanding and constantly complaining. Sometimes it seems like the flood of free content on YouTube is turning all of us into the second group, but with people instead of software.
posted by clawsoon at 9:31 AM on July 25 [34 favorites]


Seconding what HP is saying - I produce a weekly podcast and the audience is great, except the handful of aggressively shitty people.

The positive comments when they come are like warm mana.
posted by drewbage1847 at 11:42 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


...if there is an artist or project you admire, be it a podcast, webcomic, long-form, YouTube, or anything else: Send them words of kindness and encouragement.

Yes. It's also important to pay that artist fairly and directly for their work, if you're in a position to do so. Otherwise it may vanish.

I'm a writer who recently and reluctantly shut down a popular project I'd worked on for 20 years (The Anticareerist, which started its life in 1998 as whywork.org). During that time I received hundreds of appreciative emails from my readers encouraging me to keep on writing. I received invitations to speak at conferences. One of my essays for the project was reprinted in a university English class packet. My project was cited on Wikipedia as an authoritative and influential source.

But I can count on one hand the number of people who actually paid me for it. So it's now gone.
posted by velvet winter at 12:17 PM on July 25 [4 favorites]


There are several different things going on here, but the one thing that resonated me was her talk in the beginning about (I'm paraphrasing here) "okay, I can keep doing this indefinitely but... to what purpose." I think that's something that's big in the gig economy now: even when you hit a point where you can make something approximating a living, there's not a structure there. As a freelance writer, I've been struggling with this a lot over the recent months. It's like being stuck on a perpetual hamster wheel at times.
posted by HunterFelt at 4:06 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


I always found her to be super-talented and creative, as well as gracious. But there was always an underlying current of barely perceptible desperation to keep up with demand. I hope for peace and health for her first, but selfishly, I also hope one day she can share her gifts again.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 7:58 AM on July 26


This really resonated with me, not only the part about an incomprehensible reluctance to admit that you're in need of help and worthy of help and that you gotta go get help ("why am I not strong enough to fix myself from here, from within?") but also the [desire/need] to step away from a community that has supported you and likely forms the bulk of how you feel about yourself or define yourself.

In a much much much smaller way I'm in a similar position, having gained a measure of unexpected local fame because of an art project, and it's been a year now and I think about the ongoing project and my followers and our interactions every single day. Multiple times a day. Fortunately 98% of my interactions with the community are positive, so I can't complain about that. I do wonder, though, when I tire of doing this ... how will I define myself? I won't be "that guy that does the thing" any more, I won't be identified in public or bought drinks or any of that. Right now I'm probably as "famous" as I'll ever be and far more famous than I ever expected to be and it'll be tough to let go, but I know it'll happen one day. So my heart goes out to Laina - I'm experiencing in my 40s a microscopic version of what she lived and breathed in her 20s and I can't imagine that I would have stood up to her experience with anything approaching her fortitude if I had gone through it at her age.

Or I would have turned into a conceited jerk, which appears to have not happened to her.

I'm so glad she's exiting smoothly and in a controlled fashion and I am glad she's got help - professional help - to keep her brain and thoughts working in a healthy way.
posted by komara at 12:45 PM on July 26


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