Chris Herald: I think social media, in general, has done a lot of harm to my generation in terms of mental health and perception and things similar to that

Name: Chris Herald

Social Media Handle/Username: @fiftyfourhalo

Introduce Yourself/Tell About Yourself: I’m Chris, but most people usually know me by my last name or by “Pi’erre” (like the rapper/producer Pi’erre Bourne). I’m seventeen and I’m just wrapping up my junior year of high school. Born and raised my entire life in East Orange, NJ. I’m an only child and I keep to myself. Due to that, the internet has been a massive part of my upbringing and who I am as a person. I honestly can’t say I’m doing anything interesting currently, just because of how much I prioritize school and my grades. Though, in my free time, I’m a big basketball head and an even bigger video game nerd. I’m a big YouTube guy too, I was born in ’04, so the site practically raised me. Right now I just live in my routine of school, cooking, exercising, and investing in some hobbies, all from home. I’m entering a critical time in my life and I’m really working on being the best version of myself for when it’s crunch time and I’m out on my own.

What Inspires You Every day? : My inspirations come from a lot of places. Some of the people I’ve encountered in my life, from friends to family, have really left impressions on me on the kind of person I want to be. Social media inspires me as well, I think social media, in general, has done a lot of harm to my generation in terms of mental health and perception and things similar to that, but so much good comes from it as well. I think I wouldn’t be anywhere near as driven as a person if I didn’t see so many people live their dreams and achieve their goals on platforms like Twitter, Insta, YouTube, etc. Truthfully, at the root of it all, my biggest inspiration comes from myself. I know I can be something great and it’s a life’s effort to get to the level I’m determined to reach.

What is some words of wisdom you live by?: I’m a huge fan of the Toronto Raptors, and one of their current stars Fred VanVleet has a saying that he puts all his principles into: “Bet on yourself”. In this world, things are unpredictable and you often have to go out and get what you want in life yourself. I’ve struggled for a while with putting in that extra effort and depending on others to push me ahead, but nowadays I take Fred’s mantra to heart. Nobody is going to be in my shoes except for myself, so I have to put all the chips on my table and invest in myself to do what I have to do in this life.

What is your ultimate goal in life? : This may sound crazy, especially since I’m in the college process currently, but I still don’t know the answer to that. Ever since I was ten or eleven It’s been my dream to relocate and live in Toronto. It’ll likely be a long time before I get there and settle in a good place, but everyone close to me can tell you how deadset I am on moving there someday. In terms of a career, I have no clue. I love basketball and the NBA, but I was always too short to play seriously. So a career being part of a pro organization would likely be a dream of mine. But I’m likely going to major in something flexible like business when I reach college so I still have a lot of options. Ultimately, my goal is to find that joy in life, living in Toronto with a nice family and a nicer retirement fund.

How have you been during the pandemic and how has it affected you? : Tough. Extremely tough. I was never someone who really battled mental health. It runs in my family, and my whole life I’ve witnessed my mom battle with it. But I’ve always lived a blessed and protected life so it just never crossed my mind. In January, right before the pandemic got bad in the States, I had an anxiety attack. It was so bad I had to be rushed to the ER. I didn’t know what spurred it and I still don’t to this day. However, I always had a little hypochondria in my character, and the incident completely unlocked that fear within me. I was certain something was seriously wrong with me, despite the numerous tests I was given throughout the entire process. By the time the virus reached New Jersey, I was already disheveled mentally. Now having to be from home, I felt better in some way because my deteriorating state of mind wouldn’t have to be televised in a public space like school. By the summer, I was so far gone. I was so paranoid about my health that I was convinced I would drop dead any day. I was having real ailments physically, but everyone was telling me it was manifested by my irrational fear of it. I couldn’t accept it, I thought it was virus-related, I thought it was a terminal illness. I was pushing the limits of my mother’s healthcare and my mother herself, I was making her cry all the time and it made me feel like a terrible burden. My lowest point was in June, she was ready to put me in the hospital because I had given up on myself, I had lost a lot of weight from the hypochondria and it just wasn’t looking good. Fortunately, by the fall I had found myself again. It felt like a second chance. I started feeling better physically and it made me want to be better. I started working out and lifting, started doing YouTube as a serious hobby, and really locked in on this transition into adulthood. Honestly, without the pandemic, I don’t think I would’ve ever developed the will and the seriousness I have for this stage of my life.

What is a message you would like to give others? : Life is trickly and fickle. People get caught up in so many illusions and delusions. So many struggle with mental health and “fighting demons”. Don’t give up on yourself. Always find that value in your life. Everyone has different goals on this planet, but the real goal of life is to find your happiness and to never stop fighting until you do. Love yourself and love others, life is too short to steep yourself in negative thoughts and actions 24/7. But most importantly, take care of yourself.

What else would you like to tell others about you or your life?: I’m not big on speaking about my presence and things like that because I’m the type of person that really doesn’t care until the results can speak for me. All I can really say is that I’m locked in on optimizing myself, and hopefully, the fruits of this labor down the line mean I can have a lot more opportunities to be a part of cool processes like this interview. BET ON YOURSELF! – Love FiftyFour

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