Blue Skies in, Gray Skies out: Coping with 2020


There is no doubt that 2020 has been a whirlwind of a year. There is also no doubt that 2020 has unleashed loads of trauma. This year has revealed a lot, but glaringly, I think we have seen this idea over and over: mental health is exceptionally important. Between a killer virus that has been reported on 24/7 since March, the loss of loved ones and public figures, and not knowing how long this new normal will last, we are living through a unique and undesirable time in human history. 

Any ordeal that results in severe shock, especially when the harmful effects last for a long time, is considered a trauma. It’s very important to be honest with our experiences this year. They were, and continue to be, traumatic. The words depression and anxiety are often thrown around or used lightly, but they are real disorders that have physical, mental, and emotional effects. 

Right now, more so than ever, there is an emphasis on mental health because of the traumas 2020 has consecutively thrown our way. Everyone is affected by COVID-19. No one is exempt. Whether you were a student all of a sudden having to switch to virtual learning, or you were a nurse suddenly carrying the responsibility of a hero on the front lines of society, this pandemic touched your life. These large, life altering events must be acknowledged. 



Take a deep breath and recognize that this year may have been traumatic for you. Understand that you have come this far! Work toward checking yourself for symptoms similar to those present when dealing with a trauma, or a mental illness, maybe through a medical professional or trusted friend. Some symptoms include reduced ability to concentrate, extreme mood changes, long lasting sadness, and social withdrawal. Think of practical ways to deal with these symptoms, and try to get to the root of why they’re present. Are you angry? Sad? Disappointed? Scared? Can you stop feeling this way by going for a walk, or are these symptoms longer-lasting? Remember that acknowledging feelings does not make you weak, but that deciding to prioritize your health is wise, challenging, and rewarding.


Ask for help if you need it! Articles, hotlines, books, videos, a trusted adult, a friend. Try not to isolate yourself- more people feel the same way you do than you’d imagine. Be patient with yourself and others. 2020 has been a repeated slap to the face, and we are all doing our best to cope and continue as best as we can. We have lived through a traumatic year and it’s very possible we will experience more hardships. However, we have the tools to work through and thrive within us. 

It’s easy to look at 2020 and want to throw the whole year away. However, I believe in our ability to make the best out of this year.


Numbers to Call:

Mr. Kim Williams, Head Counselor:  447‐1608

Central Wellness Center: 447-1400

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Arkansas Crisis Center: 888-274-7472


Art by Mary Ruth Taylor.