With it being suicide prevention month, I would like to share a story with you. Hopefully, the words can prove helpful and serve as a reminder that you are not alone.

Why is it that when depression is mentioned the room goes quiet, especially when perhaps the best help you can have is the freedom to discuss those issues openly. Kevin Hart describes it best, “If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Sometimes being there for someone is all they ever needed, just talk”.

I never really understood how devastating the effects of depression were until I saw it’s effects first hand. Seeing someone close to you that you care about battle depression was an eye-opener. Watching one of your closest friends break down in front of you is heart-wrenching. In hindsight, I should’ve noticed that he was going through something more serious than just a ‘bad spell’. The drinking, the weed smoking, and the partying were becoming noticeably more frequent. Although I didn’t know the signs, I certainly witnessed the effects. 

When going through mental battles as a young adult, we sometimes feel like handling it alone, but depression cannot and should not be tackled alone. I understand that most people are not entirely comfortable when it comes to opening up, but when my friend began opening mi up, the love and support he received had a notable effect on his happiness. Having those bottled emotions fester inside you, makes the challenges that life throws at you seem like an endless cycle. Just when you think something else can’t go wrong, something does.

When people that you care about offer you their services, undermining the comfort and tenderness that can be found through those friends and your family is arguably the worst thing you can do. They are the ones who know you best and love you the most. Acknowledge that not everyday is going to be smiles and laughter, life isn’t that kind. Keep your head up.

Even though family and friends can provide a solid support network, it is still your responsibility to get out of your depression. It is not your fault but it is your responsibility to get better. From a young age, we’re told to aim for the stars and dream big. Although this is good, it also brings an immense amount of pressure. We end up disappointed when we’re unable to reach those high standards. Take your time, you’ve got this. 

Adult life has many pressures and one that is hitting our generation in particular is the constant comparison we make, which is accelerated by social media. 

Speaking of social media, fuck it. Fuck how it continuously tries to dictate your thoughts. Fuck the everlasting cycle of needing to conform and “fit in”. I want you to remember that the YouTubers, athletes and any other influencer-types that drown you in their lavish lifestyles, don’t necessarily have the amazing lives their feeds suggest. Stop comparing. People conveniently leave out the times they fail, the times they cry, the times they stress. It’s hard to remember that the things you see on social media are NOT accurate representations of people’s lives. It’s easy to get sucked into feeling like your life is inadequate, but you can’t let yourself get caught up in that. Rather than letting those pressures consume you, worry more about what you can control, as the work you put in will definitely show. Hard work does not go unnoticed, have faith in yourself and time will tell.

Use that same pressure as a driving force for things you want to achieve and want to work towards. Social media has added to the insecurity levels that people experience. Everyone has their own problems, mental health affects people and celebrities that are deemed to “have it all”. This shows that whether you are driving a Rolls Royce or pedaling a Carerra GT, these aren’t going to be the deciding factors of your happiness and fulfilment.

I truly believe we wouldn’t be in such a toxic environment if this enhanced and unrealistic representation of everyone’s daily lives weren’t constantly posted online. This has led to people overthinking that the quality of their lives are insufficient compared to what they see online.   that whatever they are doing in life is not enough, because it is.

I recently came across an online post that read, “how can you continue to grow if you’re not continuously working on yourself to be better”. Two crucial aspects which are vital to becoming the person you aspire to be are balance and self control. It’s true, we expect so much from so little effort. We accept that we need balance and self control, yet it’s being neglected. “Stress comes from ignoring things you shouldn’t be ignoring”. Having the ability to weigh out your priorities and to recognise that sometimes you need to focus on your responsibilities instead of your desires is crucial. 

For example, is it smart to go out 2-3 times in a week, when you’re supposed to pay for driving lessons the upcoming week? Should you be drinking the night before a 10hr shift? It’s not about never drinking or even going out, it’s all about having the balance and learning that sometimes you need to just say… no.  

Working towards a purpose is critical. Fulfilling your responsibilities which can contribute towards your future or a better life is a lot more meaningful, instead of fulfilling your desires for a single night. Think about it. Achieving the goals you set for yourself are more rewarding than the short term pleasure you get from following your desires. It certainly outweighs that fear of missing out. 

When it comes to it, I myself have definitely experienced mental health problems and I want to tell you that if you need to cry, cry. Just promise me that you understand that this is all temporary. All the stresses you had the other month do you even think about today? No. We don’t appreciate enough of what we have sometimes.

In my eyes I feel like surrounding yourself with the right people is vital.I am referring to the people you can freely express yourself to, be comfortable with and have those uncomfortable conversations with. I can’t lie, I’ve been very blessed with the friends I currently have. They’ve seen every version of Cedric there is. The significance of that cannot be understated. Whilst being surrounded by my friends, I am myself which is necessary. I never have to pretend to be someone I’m not, I can be myself with no judgement and that’s what I love and you should too. Personal growth can be brought through the right people too as I have never been the most confident or even outgoing person. Understandably, things do take time and I accept that. Everything is down to you, believe in yourself… I do. 

What I’m really trying to get at is I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, so whatever it is you’re doing now and think you can do better, the truth is you certainly can. So, whatever you’re stuck doing now most definitely doesn’t define your character, nor your aspirations. If you want change, start bringing change for yourself. You can do it if I can. What’s the difference between me and you? Start holding yourself accountable for the things you want to change, and stop being so harsh on yourself you’re doing good. It’s hard to do the things you know you should do rather than the things you want to do.

So HEY, from now just promise me one thing. No more comparisons, stop letting social media dictate your own thoughts, start letting yourself enjoy the small things and finally appreciate all things important to you, even if the world is against it.

Love and Guidance

Cedric Sefaranga