Millennials and Gen Zers have long been accused of being addicted to their digital lives, but that is exactly why the creators of one of Instagram’s most popular meme accounts think their fans were ‘better equipped’ to deal with the stress of the pandemic.
Nicole Argiris and sisters Lola, Gina, and Nora Tash — the foursome behind My Therapist Says — had their work cut out for them in 2020, a year that was ripe with content for an account dedicated to creating and aggravating memes about 20-somethings’ anxiety-ridden struggles.
‘In the past, older generations have shown disdain at our preoccupation with our phones and our online lives, but during a pandemic, it’s been an advantage to us to have this online presence solidified,’ Nicole, 26, told DailyMail.com.
Social media stars: Nicole Argiris and sisters Lola, Gina, and Nora Tash (left to right) are the creators behind the popular Instagram meme account My Therapist Says
Target audience: The account has more than 5.9 million followers and is dedicated to creating and aggravating memes about 20-somethings’ anxiety-ridden struggles
She explained that millennials and Gen Zers ‘have such a powerful online community where it’s normalized and encouraged to seek help,’ which was an advantage going into quarantine.
‘When we’re all stuck at home, we feel less alone, as the initial shock was less pronounced for us given how intertwined our social lives already were with social media.’
The co-founders, who grew up in Toronto, Canada, have all been in therapy for years for various reasons. They see the launch of My Therapist Says in 2015 as a natural evolution from their group chat, where they would create memes and satirize their personal experiences.
Lola, 26, said the account’s name was derived from the phrase they always use when dolling out advice to each other: ‘Well, my therapist said…’
Laughing through it: Throughout the pandemic, they have shared and created relatable memes about quarantine, online dating, and Zoom calls
Cautious: The foursome admitted there was an added pressure to not cross the line during a year that was clouded in tragedy
Advantage: They told DailyMail.com that they think younger generations were prepared to deal with the stress of the pandemic because of their ‘powerful online community’
‘Our therapist, of course, said no such thing, but we thought that it legitimized the advice to the point where we would have to take it,’ she explained, adding: ‘It was always with the best intentions that we were giving each other advice.’
My Therapist Says has become one of the most popular meme accounts on Instagram with more than 5.9 million followers to date. The account is only five years old, but Nora, 28, recalled how therapy and mental health were still somewhat taboo subjects when they started it.
‘This new generation, however, is so open and verbose on all things we used to deem inaccessible or unapproachable,’ she said. ‘I think it’s going to do a lot of good for people in the long run, not having to feel ashamed or ostracized for feeling, or being, a certain way.’
Lola agreed that ‘laughter is a powerful thing,’ adding that humorizing and satirizing a mental health issue helps ‘take away its power over you.’
Published: They recently published their first self-help book, My Therapist Says: Advice You Should Probably (Not) Follow. Nicole, 26, struck a pose with the book in October
Nicole (pictured at Instagram’s office in New York) co-founded the meme account in 2015 with her friends, and it now has a whopping 5.9 million followers
Throughout the pandemic, they have shared and created relatable memes about quarantine, online dating, and Zoom calls, but they admitted there was an added pressure to not cross the line during a year that was clouded in tragedy.
‘Each day was a fog of uncertainty, of worry, of what news tomorrow might bring — but we knew we had a responsibility to find the lightness amidst the dark,’ Nora said.
‘We certainly felt entitled to our own grief and confusion, but it was almost therapeutic trying to alleviate other people’s worry with memes so as not to focus on our own.
‘It was an incredibly thin line of what you could and couldn’t make light of, and it’s one we still worry about constantly.’
Brilliant: Lola, 26, said the account’s name was derived from the phrase they always use when dolling out advice to each other: ‘Well, my therapist said…’
Projects: Lola has helped turn My Therapist Says into a full-fledged marketing company with a podcast, TV show, and unannounced new product in the works
Gina, 31, added that ‘2020 felt like three lifetimes in the span of one long, never-ending month,’ but humor helped ‘ease the burden.’
The foursome has been running My Therapist Says and its sister accounts My Bestie Says and My Style Says as their full-time gigs since 2016. The brand has evolved into a marketing company with a podcast, TV show, and unannounced new product in the works.
In October, they published their first self-help book, My Therapist Says: Advice You Should Probably (Not) Follow, which they wrote in collaboration with — who else? — their therapists.
‘Our therapists were incredibly involved in the writing of this book, not only with the lessons they imparted on us, but the advice they took the time to give out as they heard some of the questions we were being messaged,’ Nora said.
Teamwork: Nora, 28, oversees the brand’s visuals, campaigns, and marketing
Looking back: Nora said it was ‘almost therapeutic trying to alleviate other people’s worry with memes’ during the pandemic
Lola explained that they are constantly receiving direct messages from people who are seeking their advice under the assumption they’re therapists because of their account’s name.
‘We understood their voices and we felt the need,’ she said, ‘so it was translating that need and finding a solution in which we could utilize both the humor, and the helpful aspects of the page and our lives, and bring something positive into the world.’
Each of them contributed to the book and incorporated different aspects of their lives, but it’s written in a singular voice to make it more cohesive.
‘We decided to create this character, an alias almost, that embodied fractions of us all to make this wonderfully flawed whole who people could resonate with,’ Lola said.
Long year: Gina, 31, said ‘2020 felt like three lifetimes in the span of one long, never-ending month,’ but humor helped ‘ease the burden’
Company role: Gina runs the operations at My Therapist Says as the brand continues to grow
The book has chapters about relationships, work, and self-care, with playful titles such as ‘I Guess You’re my Boyfriend?’ and ‘Am I a CEO Yet?’
There is even an astrology section that they thought would be both fun and educational for their fans. Everything is written in the same tongue-in-cheek style as their memes, but there are also lessons to be learned.
Nicole said the book’s biggest takeaway is that everyone should be their own personal cheerleader, especially when the going gets tough.
‘That would be something we all hope that people learned from the book,’ she explained. ‘Although not quite overtly self-help, our goal was to have people transform the way they viewed day-to-day life in a non-preaching way; similar to the way we approach our memes.
‘This book covers the ins and outs of almost every area of one person’s life, but the ultimate goal and lesson we wanted to impart on people is to find the strength within so you can then be that for someone else.’