Shine A Light On Compassion Fatigue

Shine A Light On Compassion Fatigue

By shining a light, we can see it's relevance and some potential steps for overcoming it in today's tough political climate. TW suicide reference
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It's ok if you do not know what compassion fatigue is. I didn't know what compassion fatigue was until it was too late.

So....what is it? Why is it relevant?

According to the director of the Tulane Traumatology Institute, Dr. Figley, compassion fatigue is, " a state experienced by those helping people or animals in distress; it is an extreme state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it can create a secondary traumatic stress for the helper" (compassionfatigue.org). Basically, whether you are a volunteer or a full-time employee, caring so much takes a toll. The negativity that you see in your particular area (whether it be caring for humans or animals) begins to prevail in your life. You begin to care for those in your area more than yourself, slowly abandoning all self-care practices you may have had to begin with.

This may be easier to understand with an example. For me, every time a beloved favorite is put to sleep at the shelter, they take a piece of my heart with them. It hurts like hell. Even though I need time to heal and recover from that loss, I do not take it. Why? Because they need me. Those dogs in those cages need me. They need someone to sit with them and tell them random stories about their life until they feel comfortable enough to let that human put a leash on them. After a loss, the volunteer work is no longer fun, but a duty. I feel responsible for them, even though logically, I know it is not in my control. In my life though, I have been very fortunate, as I have been able to find the spark again, sometimes in a dog, sometimes in a human, and sometimes in a chipmunk with a death wish who loves to taunt the shelter residents.

That's what is dangerous about compassion fatigue. Not everyone finds that spark again. In September of 2014, renowned behaviorist and best-selling author Dr. Sophia Yin committed suicide at 48 years old. To put that in perspective, my parents are 51 and 50. Those closest to Dr. Yin think that her overwhelming love for animals was what ultimately became her downfall. A study done by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine estimates that the suicide rate among animal rescue workers is the highest among American workers, shared only with police officers and firefighters (Lizik). Compassion fatigue, according to the foremost experts in the field, can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts/actions (compassionfatigue.org).

Now do I have your attention? Or are you confused? "Yeah Drosendahl we know, you love animals. What's your point?"

My point is this...

With many people, including your favorite anxiety-riddled claustrophobic writer, going out and protesting the current political climate, compassion fatigue is something that needs to have a light shined on to it. Seeing the way that society reacts to the issues that you (or those you care about) can be incredibly disheartening. It can cause those negative attitudes to prevail. Even though this is far easier said than done, do not let it. If you lose your spark, like I, and many others have (and will probably do again), look to the little things to reignite it. It can be anything, from a chipmunk with a death wish to a girl marching on Washington with an injured foot, from a family member's inspirational gift to a dear friend revealing a long-time secret, from the look in a dog's eyes when you reach for them and do not harm them to the look in people's eyes when you say that you are doing something in spite of your fears.

My hope is that by shining a light on compassion fatigue and the little things that have helped me overcome it in the past, people realize that they are not alone and that they have people (and dogs) on their side.

Even though it is a quote that originated in AA, I think that it is still important, especially if you or someone you know is dealing with compassion fatigue: This too shall pass.

You aren't alone. You can overcome.

Sources:

http://stories.barkpost.com/compassion-fatigue-ani...

http://www.compassionfatigue.org/pages/symptoms.ht...

Cover Image Credit: American Nurse Today

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Tanya Gold, Your Fatphobic Article Is Uneducated And Arrogant

BREAKING NEWS: Women come in all different shapes and sizes!

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Just recently, Nike released a plus-size mannequin at one of their stores in London that showed off their plus-size leggings and sports bra. And, because we live in a world where being fat or overweight or obese is somehow the worst thing in the world to some people, this has sparked a lot of discussion.

Tanya Gold wrote an article for The Telegraph saying that this mannequin “cannot run" and is “likely pre-diabetic" and “on her way to a hip-replacement." Not only is Tanya's article uneducated and poorly written, it's completely fatphobic and embarrassing.

What I would like to know is this: why can't plus-size women work out in Nike clothes just like a size 2 woman? People want to scream from the rooftops that plus-size women are fat because they don't exercise and when companies FINALLY start catering to plus-size women with clothes they can EXERCISE IN, people lose their minds and think that they're promoting obesity.

What are plus sized women supposed to work out in if they can't even wear Nike leggings without being fat-shamed?

Would you rather them wear jeans? Overalls? A parka, maybe? What about a garbage bag?

Let's also discuss the fact that being overweight doesn't equal being unhealthy, just like being at a “normal" weight doesn't make you healthy. Did you ever stop to think that some women have diseases that make them gain weight that they, in return, can't lose? Some women can eat salad for every single meal, seven days a week and they still can't lose weight.

Let's all say this together: SIZE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FITNESS. Being thin doesn't equal being healthy and being overweight doesn't equal being unhealthy.

Everyone (and yes, I mean EVERYONE) should be able to be comfortable in their own skin AND in their clothes.

You can't sit and pout saying that fat people don't care about their health and then when they want comfortable clothes to wear while they're EXERCISING, hell has frozen over and how dare Nike cater to people who aren't a size 2.

Tanya, be honest with yourself. You aren't anywhere near a size 2, either, so where is all of this coming from? Are you self-loathing? Do you have some kind of internal fatphobia?

Pick a side, Tanya. You can't hate people who are overweight because you think that they aren't exercising and then when they do exercise and they get clothes that cater to them, it's all of the sudden wrong and horrible.

We are damned if we do, damned if we don't. As if women (and men) weren't already being shamed enough for being plus size, we're now being made to feel bad because a brand caters to our size so we can wear the same clothes all of the other sizes can wear.

Thank you, Nike, for making your brand more inclusive for all shapes and sizes so we can ALL feel confident in our clothes.

I think it's worth mentioning that Nike released their plus-size line in 2017 AKA 2 years ago... Why weren't you mad then?

Oh, and, Tanya Gold, you might want to stop smoking since you're all about being healthy, right? You don't want to get lung cancer or anything, do you?

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