The effect of trauma


Your most important enemy after an attack from your own government, corporate thugs, or fanatical fundamentalist group may be emotional mental trauma consisting of mental paralysis and depression.  Trauma is an emotional response to having your entire world suddenly turned upside down.  An attack from your government or other powerful entity can overwhelm the individual because the resources aligned against you seem so overpowering.

At CRNI over the last 20 years, we have dealt with many cartoonists who have been traumatized by the actions of their government or other illegal entities. Many cartoonists do not even realize that they are suffering from trauma or that it can lead to a more serious case of longer-term Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.

PTSD can result in a mental paralysis and depression.  If this paralysis and depression are not broken, a downward emotional spiral can result that will make your ability to protect yourself and your family practically impossible.  When you are emotionally crippled, you become a danger to yourself and your family.

One of the first symptoms of trauma is a feeling of helplessness, that you are alone and there is something wrong with you.  You might feel embarrassed to tell anyone about it, you may think that your symptoms are signs of weakness.  It is rare that a person can climb out of trauma alone.  The reassurance of family, friends, or of psychological counseling are the best treatments to help recover from any traumatic experience.

It is this very feeling of being alone or feeling helpless that can trick an individual into denying that they are having a personal traumatic problem.  We are all embarrassed by having to admit that we are weak or that we're having trouble.  Those causing you this traumatic response depend on this phenomenon.  It is up to you to recognize the symptoms, break the pattern of trauma, and immediately seek the help of friends, family, and very importantly, psychological counseling.

Some of the symptoms of personal trauma are:  being overly irritable by things that would normally not affect you; suddenly blaming others for small mistakes; and, drinking or smoking more than usual.  Many people who are traumatized report an inability to have a good night’s sleep.  They wake up at the slightest noise.  They wake up two or three times during the night without really being aware of why they can't sleep.

Even having moments of affection with your spouse seem impossible.  You may experience panic attacks where your breathing becomes shallow. You feel like fainting or your fingers, your lips, or other body parts become numb.

A client of ours who fled to safety in another country reported years of psychological counseling in order to deal with the demons and nightmares that he lived through while struggling with the memories of interrogations and the horrible threats made against him and his family.  PTSD can remain active for years, but with proper counseling and a good family support network it can be put into proper perspective.

If you are having any of these symptoms, you must break the pattern and seek assistance to get out of the psychological condition making it difficult to make decisions and take actions.   Our comprehensive list of organizations at the end of this manual includes organizations that help you connect with a psychologist in your own country who is prepared to help you as part of a commitment to human rights and free speech.


  • Your most important enemy may be emotional paralysis.
  • Learn the symptoms of emotional trauma.

Previous Segment     Table of Contents     Next Segment