How Trauma Affects One’s Mental Health

Trauma, either physical or emotional/psychological, triggers abnormal activities in the brain, the so-called neurotransmitters, which are responsible for the fight or flight reaction of all living organisms. This is mostly observable in a human being and will only differ, in intensity, between a healthy and an ill human brain.

I lately learned of the intricacies of the human brain, in my conscious effort to learn more and understand my mental illness, which is bipolar disorder. What I learned during my Nursing education years, some 40 or so years ago, have now evolved into a more complex subject because of the discoveries in science, especially the modern diagnostic and/or therapeutic gadgets. Now, the human brain can easily be studied and it has led to understanding the many chemical imbalances characteristic of each of the different afflictions affecting the brain. Thus, bipolar disorder, previously named as manic depressive disorder, finally got its place on the list of most prevalent mental illness around. With its identification, came the numerous researches on how it can be treated and managed.

A normal brain can easily recover from any trauma but if regularly subjected to traumas, the brain impulses can go haywire, resulting to chemical imbalances, thus leading to what is known as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Stress, yes, the number one disturbing element of the human brain, differs, as well, in intensity, between a healthy and an ill human brain.

What am I driving at, folks? To tell you honestly, I just wanted to inform you that because of my recent physical trauma, depression has again set in and with it came the lack of interest in doing what I love doing. I tried to fight it, strictly following, as ever, what the experts advise, but with a lot of other stressors coming non-stop into my daily life, I just don’t have the stamina to do it. So, I resorted to taking an extra dose of antidepressant and voila, here I am, back to my usual talkative self!

You may say that I am becoming drug dependent, but, hey, you are not facing the same triggers that I face! And don’t get me wrong, please, I am not trying to be defensive. No, not at all! Am simply telling you, and asking you, to be understanding of what goes on inside the brain of a mentally ill person, such as I!

Yes, I suffer with mental illness and I am not ashamed to admit it. It is high time that people who suffer the same start acknowledging their illness. Because only then, they can get to manage it and live as normally as the rest of the human race!


In every illness, the affected should always consciously work in getting the right treatment or management. It is always a big PLUS for one to be pro-active and assertive and also to advocate for one’s health. As in my case, my psychiatrist and I worked closely for a year and experimented on different drugs – its dosage and frequency – until we reached the combination which is finally working. Triggers are always coming unannounced and having knowledge on how they can affect my body, I got prepared to do what is needed so I don’t go down to that stage where I will end up wishing and actually attempting to kill myself! Never again!

About Author

Freda Editha O. Contreras
Writing is a God-given talent which I try to utilize the good way. I used it as a means to earn a living, my very first job after graduating from college, when I got hired as an Information Writer by the Provincial Government of Antique through Governor Enrique A. Zaldivar in January 1982. By profession, I am a Registered Nurse, and was only able to practice it when I got recruited to work in a private hospital in Kuwait. This was in November 1987 and since then I have been living in Kuwait, now retired since June 2002. Because of my knack in writing I got hired in 1994 to write for Kuwait Times and later became an Editor of 'Pinoy News' a weekly supplement of KT. In March 1996 I published the very first independent Filipino newspaper in Kuwait and the Gulf bannered as Pinoy Expat News or PEN. The paper lasted for only 10 weekly issues. This was followed by another publication and came out first as an insert of an ad paper and later as a separate tabloid. I used then 'Pinoy News' as it was my idea the first time it was used for Kuwait Times. This again failed and produced only three weekly issues. I then turned to the Internet and in 1999 I got hired as a Contributing Editor of, a writers' portal on the web. The last of my articles was published December 31, 2002 but my topic 'Overseas Filipino Workers' was still visible until January 2006. All the 38 articles I wrote have been compiled into a book which I published in August 2007. I discovered blogging in 2006 but was not really serious about my writing. I wrote according to my whim. Having this blog under my own domain name is now a welcome development and I plan to concentrate again in writing. As is commonly said: "A writer will always be a writer."

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