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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

On My Mind: Shifting your perspective 

How managing your perspective changes your life 
Brittany Wachtel
The sunset in question.
Disclaimer: This column openly discusses mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, which may be triggering to some readers. 

When I was 13, I began attending therapy and was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  

Six years later, I still go to therapy weekly.  

My journey with mental health has been anything but linear, I have experienced the many ups and downs that come along with attempting to better yourself. 

I have learned every person experiences mental health. Every road to recovery is different, and everybody must overcome challenges others will never understand. 

With that being said, I am starting this column to bring you along on the never-ending journey that comes with tackling your mental health. 

New Perspectives 

This week, I want to discuss the importance of perspective. 

Picture this: you are having a picnic underneath one of the most beautiful sunsets that you have ever seen.  

You have a choice of how you perceive this moment. 

Will you be enamored by the beauty of the sunset, or will you be thinking about how you really aren’t a fan of turkey and cheese sandwiches and that its too cold outside for your liking? 

On one hand, you are living in the now and allowing your mind and body to be enthralled by the beauty of the sunset, blocking out any negative thoughts. 

On the other hand, you are focusing on the not-so-beautiful parts of your experience, such as your soggy bread and goosebump covered arms. 

I have constantly struggled with being held back by a negative perspective. I would view every moment of happiness as fleeting and choose to focus on the negative parts of my life.  

For those of us who struggle with depressive thoughts, a change in perspective is easier said than done. It can be difficult to see the good in life, let alone focus on it.  

I remember going through a phase in my life where I felt an immense amount of guilt for things that happened to me in my childhood. I felt as though I had to of done something wrong if I had bad things happening to me. 

My therapist walked me through an exercise that she called story booking. She had me write and illustrate the key points in my life up until the present. The good, the bad, and the ugly. 

After I wrote my book, my therapist reworded it, shifting the perspective from which I viewed the events. Instead of these key moments happening to me, they happened to another little girl. 

I was filled with empathy and sadness for the little girl that I was reading about, and then I remembered that little girl was me.  

This was the first time that I understood the power of perspective. Ever since, I have challenged myself to find the good in everyday life. 

The fact that as humans we get to live a life full of love, beauty, empathy, sadness, and excitement is so beautiful. Humans are meant to feel, and with that comes good and bad emotions. 

You never know what life is going to throw at you. Sometimes the going gets tough, but humans are resilient creatures. We are capable of so much more than we believe.  

My question for you is, are you going to see the beauty of the sunset, or focus on the sandwich? 

Song of the week: “Forever” by Noah Kahan 

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