Bad life experiences can affect and may distort a person’s perspective on reality. Recently, I was playing a group sport on a team, and a person on the field made a comment that left me scratching my head in confusion. I thought about what he said, about how our team was playing. Now from my perspective, what he said was exactly the opposite of what was actually taking place. His team was actually playing the way he described. So I wondered, “How can two people taking in the same experience perceive two completely opposite perspectives?” Now there are many factors to consider, but I will only be going over traumatic situations that may skew a person’s view on reality.
Here’s are a few examples of life events that could impact one’s perspective:
Death of a loved one
Life-altering accident – (loss of limb, house burning down, totaled car, etc.)
Long-term illness – (cancer, extended hospitalization, genetic disorder that impairs, etc.)
Life-changing decisions – (divorce, job relocation to another region, breaking the law, drug/alcohol dependencies, etc.)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Past experiences can also greatly impact one’s perspective in life. A bad experience – especially over an extended period of time – can even lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD). On October 13, 2010, 33 miners were rescued after being trapped underground in a gold and copper mine for more than 2 months. These rescued miners are encouraged to undergo extensive counseling for the next 6 months so they can properly deal with the stress they have undergone, being trapped in the mines.
American troops that have been stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan also have a high rate of PTSD. According to ABC news, about 1 in 10 soldiers suffer from a mental disorder due to their war experiences. Their tours last a minimum of 6 months and it is not unheard of for soldiers to have multiple tours during this war.
The BP oil spill, which took place during the summer months of 2010 also impacted many lives. Many families were burdened because of the impact this event had on the already recession-laiden local economies. Local businesses that relied on the fishing industry along the Gulf Coast were negatively affected by the oil spill, because the public did not trust the quality of food coming out of the waters. The coastal cities that rely heavily on tourists took a big hit, and many people had to close down their businesses or change jobs. The result of this 4-month long fiasco was that many people were traumatized and mental health issues like PTSD are typical results from such events.
Traumatic events in our lives can alter our view of reality, which is often negatively impacted. When a person goes through a difficult time, they need to seek healing and psychological help through counseling which can be found from licensed medical and spiritual professionals. It is important to take care of your mental faculties and keep them finely tuned, just like you would take care of your car. The goal is not to become normal, because there is no such thing as normal, but to have a healthy perspective on life so you can live abundantly and enrich others that you interact with.