Narcissistic self-obsession in our society continues to display itself in unusual ways thanks to technologies like smartphones and social media. Danny Bowman, a 19-yr-old in the UK, is one of the latest examples. He became so obsessed with himself that taking selfies took over his life. Bowman’s habit got so severe that he would take up to 200 photos of himself per day and post them on social media websites waiting anxiously for feedback from friends and strangers. He eventually dropped out of school at 16, became a recluse, acquired an eating disorder in an attempt to get the perfect body (after negative feedback on his looks from people on the Internet), and when things got to the point where he felt it was impossible for him to take the absolute perfect selfie he tried to kill himself with an overdose of prescription meds in December 2012.
Fortunately for Bowman, his mother found him and got him help before it was too late. He spent time at a clinic to get psychiatric help and now works with a charity to reach young people about being aware of mental health issues their generation faces. Various psychiatrists weighing in on Bowman’s issues and those of other young people when it comes to this selfie & social media obsession claim that it is a mental illness and not vanity. I’m of the opinion that they’re calling it a mental illness so they can keep themselves and their colleagues in business, not to mention that the whole psychiatric field is based on the false idea that we as humans are basically good and that there is no such thing as sin.
It’s great that Bowman is doing well and is telling his story to talk shows and other venues, but could it be that this is just a band-aid placed on a larger problem? At the heart of his problem, just like the rest of us, is our sin nature as human beings. The only cure for that is a relationship with Jesus Christ our Creator. So I pray that when his interviews and media popularity draw to a close and he returns to his private life after his 15 minutes of fame that he will come to the realization that there is a spiritual truth beyond what the psychiatrists surrounding him have told him.
His is a story that shows us that the road of vanity and self-obsession is a road that leads to destructive behavior. A healthy relationship with the Lord Jesus is what gives us real, everlasting purpose in life because he helps us realize we are fearfully and wonderfully made by him. The Lord Jesus by his Holy Spirit prompts us to take our focus off our circumstances when the enemy tries to keep us imprisoned in some way, so that like Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail, we can focus on glorifying God which encourages the Lord to shake our enemies to their very foundations and brings our deliverance. An intimate relationship with the Lord can help us cling to the reality that when no one around us likes us and everyone is trying to kill us with their words, we can be like David who encouraged himself in the Lord, then received a clear word from God on how to handle his dire situation (1 Samuel 30:6-9).
Harry A. Gaylord