Seventeen-year-old Arizona native Caitlyn Walker is also seeking treatment at Paradigm.
“I’d sit in my room for days at a time and just kind of be there. And I had nothing else to do except just kind of crawl up and go on social media,” Walker said. She said things began spiraling out of control when her parents’ marriage hit a rough patch. She turned to social media for comfort, but instead became the target of online bullying.
“Like I literally had pictures in my camera of people bullying me – and I kept it,” Walker said.
“Why?” Villarreal asked her.
“I don’t know,” she responded. “It was just kind of like confirmation that I wasn’t good enough.”
“If you know that Instagram and Twitter and Facebook are causing you all this pain, why do you keep going back to it then?”
“It’s hard to detach and realize that it’s a really negative part of your life,” Walker said.
Paradigm said its program, which includes therapy and reconnecting with the outdoors, has an 80 percent success rate. It can cost upwards of $50,000, but some insurance companies do help cover the expense.
After 30 days, Walker isn’t ready to delete her profiles. But she’s now learned: “You have the power to block someone or delete them or not look at it. And I think when I was in that situation, I felt like I didn’t have the power to do that,” Walker said.
Mayer now fills his time playing basketball and reading. His program might be over, but his journey is just beginning.
“I plan on deleting my Twitter, deleting my Snap Chat … I know now that I’m not going to create this false character. I just need to give more time for myself,” Mayer said.