The Power of Perception

The Power of Perception

By: Candiace Parks

Oxford dictionary, defines perception as, the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses. What we perceive determines how we receive things. We  are influenced by our thoughts, how we treat people, our expressions on our face, as well as the energy we put out. How you see things in the world helps to shape, mold, and determine your perception of it.

The way we perceive things can be themed around how we interpret things. For example, when you see a half of cup of water some might look at the cup and consider it to be half empty, while others will look at it and consider it half full. Each person views the world differently than another. Perception is something that you believe to be true. If a person believes the glass is half empty they look at the world in a more pessimistic way. Whereas a person who looks at the glass as half full has more of an optimistic view on life because they are more aware of different opportunities of a half full glass.

With life you have the freedom of being able to make choices. You can choose to see the goodness in things or you can focus on all the things that might go wrong. The Old Testament Book of Proverbs chapter 17, verse 22: “A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.”  Sometimes we miss things because of our level of awareness. If we increase our awareness it helps to increase our accuracy of how we perceive things. If you change your mind you can change your world. Instead of complaining about how the cup is half empty, take another perspective of it because we have the power to change our perception of how we view things.  In Philippians 4:8 it states, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”   Once we change our perspective of something the way we received the half empty glass can be looked at as something much more. Even in our darkest of situations if we simply take the time to breath, think resiliently and change our outlook we could change our outcome. You are the only one who has power over how to perceive things in life.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

ptsd   When most people hear the words “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD) they think of it as a problem connected with the military and the war in the middle east. This is true. However, PTSD can happen to anyone experiencing or witnessing an intense traumatic event. This could be an auto accident, an assault, a rape or any event that is life threatening and intense. PTSD is loosely defined as “an emotional and psychological reaction to trauma, a painful and shocking experience.” After trauma, survivors feel their lives have changed. What was once a safe and secure world may suddenly seem dangerous and unpredictable. PTSD can affect your personal relationships, your social life and your work.

     Symptoms of PTSD include recurring memories or flash backs of the event. Often survivors continually relive the experience in their mind. They cannot control these flashbacks or predict what may trigger them. People with PTSD may have very vivid nightmares reliving the events. Physically, the survivor may have headaches, nausea and chest pains. They may suffer anxiety, depression, jumpiness, unable to relax. They are always on guard against the event recurring. These symptoms often cause the individual to withdraw from people, abuse drugs or alcohol, or have conflicts with people around them.

   For an official diagnosis of PTSD, in accordance with the Diagnostic Manual of Disorders put out by the American Psychological Society, the symptoms must last for more than one month and include flashbacks, numbness plus physical symptoms.

   Recovery takes time and professional guidance. Many people will deny the event even happened or forget major parts of the event. Forgetting the event, is the mind’s attempt to escape from the horror. With the help of a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health specialist the survivor can resolve the problems caused by PTSD. This treatment may include prescription medication, plus individual or group talk therapy. There are several types of talk therapy, these include cognitive behavior therapy, exposure therapy, stress inoculation therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. (EMDR). In exposure therapy, the patient will gradually relive the experience with a counselor in a safe environment in order to face the problem and adjust to it. Stress inoculation therapy  teaches the client methods relieving the stress and coping with the flash backs. EMDR has shown very good results in a relatively short period-of-time. It is an eight-phase treatment involving lateral eye movement while the client holds different aspects of the event in his mind.

   If you or a friend suffers from PTSD it is important that you get professional help.

Additional information can be found at PTSD Alliance, 1-877-507-7873 or www.ptsdalliance.org. Or by calling Door of Hope at (478) 825-0033.

By Roger Green, Intern

Depression, Suicide and Youth

girl    Did you know that suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth 15 to 24? And that 90% of those who died by suicide had an underlying mental illness? For teenagers, growing up is tough. They face strong feeling of stress, confusion, self-doubt and pressures to succeed. The transition from childhood to adulthood is a rough road in the best of circumstances. When there is added pressure to succeed in school or sports, a divorce, a changes of schools, conflict between peer pressure and parents, the pressure can easily overwhelm a teenager.

As a parent or friend of a teenager it is important that you know and recognize the signs of depression and know what to do. It is normal to feel sad or anxious from time to time. Failing a school test, losing the big football game, extra homework, hormonal changes can all can make you feel down or depressed. However, feeling very sad or withdrawn for two or more weeks, is a sign of more serious problems. Additional signs of serious depression include severe mood swings, out of control risk taking behavior, use of drugs or alcohol, talking about harming oneself, drastic changes in behavior, personality or sleeping patterns. Take seriously any talk of a person taking their life or wishing they were dead. The threat of suicide is a serious matter.

If you are a parent and have concerns about your child, it is important that you talk to them and listen to what they have to say without judging. Contact the school counselor to get additional information about school progress and activities. Contact the parents of their friends. In short get all the information you can. If in doubt, contact your family doctor and get a referral for a mental health specialist. If your child doesn’t want to talk to you, suggest they call the crisis hot line. 1(800) 273-8255.

As the friend of a depressed teenager, there is a lot that you can do. First, show your concern. Ask the friend, “Are you Okay? You don’t look happy. Is there something I can do?” Be a good listener. Get others involved. Talk to the school counselor or another authority figure that the friend would trust. You can offer support, “I’m here if you need me.” Check in with them regularly. Avoid such phrases as “It can’t be that bad”, “Pull yourself together”, “Don’t worry, your problems will go away” To the depressed person, it is that bad and if they could pull themselves together they would.

  If attempted suicide seems eminent, call 911. DO NOT leave the individual alone. Stay with them until help arrives.

 Additional information can be obtained on line at https://sfps.org.

By Roger Green