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Mental Health

2020: A Year of Personal Growth

This year has been one of the roughest years for everyone. It’s not just the pandemic; it’s the election, it’s the social issues, it’s everything. Staying in my house for the past 6 months, while not ideal, hasn’t been that bad. Unlike most of the world, I have some experience at staying home for months on end. Before I became a student at UGA, I was pretty much forced to stay at home all the time. During that period of my life, my mom was working all the time, I was taking online classes at a different university, and there was no public transportation, so I couldn’t go anywhere with my caregivers. I developed severe depression and anxiety; it was pretty much the worst couple of years of my life. I didn’t realize how detrimental social isolation would be on my mental health, and when things became serious with shelter-in-place orders in Georgia, I was worried I’d go back to that mental state during quarantine.

This time in quarantine has been good for me because it’s been a time of self-growth and self-care that probably wouldn’t have happened if not for this time at home. Growth doesn’t mean that I don’t have any anxiety and depression at all. It means I have taken the time to really focus on myself, fight back at my intruding thoughts, and recognize what’s going on in my brain. Last time I was stuck at home taking online classes, it wasn’t by choice. This time, I’m choosing to stay home for my own health and safety. That makes a difference.

It got very lonely when I was doing online classes for 3 years straight without leaving the house. Looking back at the headspace I was in during those few years, I don’t even recognize myself anymore. That period of time was the lowest I’ve ever been. I wasn’t taking care of myself, and I wasn’t doing anything to help myself feel better. At the beginning of quarantine, I recognized that I started falling into those habits again when I started ordering multiple meals from DoorDash a day. It wasn’t healthy, so I decided to do something about it. When I made the decision to get healthier, something changed in me for the better.

For me, this year started off horribly. I was having panic attacks for no reason, I was in my first semester of journalism school, and Kobe Bryant died in the crash. That started a chain reaction that is this mess of a year. We all keep joking that this whole year should be thrown away, but it shouldn’t be. I wouldn’t trade this year for anything. It wasn’t exactly how I pictured it, but I’ve really grown into myself and I’m proud of how much I’ve personally accomplished. I hope that everyone got something positive out of this mess of a year like I did.

Hi, I'm Quincey Durham I recently started my first semester at UGA. I'm a journalism major and I love to write about all things entertaiment in my free time.
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