Have you been raised believing that you must always put other's needs before your own? Do you spend so much time caring for others that you forget to take care of yourself? Then you might be at risk of compassion fatigue.
Compassion fatigue is a secondary traumatic stress. It is also known as vicarious traumatization or secondary traumatization. It occurs when caregivers are too stressed due to their patient's distress, and forget to practice self-care. They start having destructive behaviors such as isolation, apathy, substance abuse and bottled up emotions.
Compassion fatigue comes with a lot more symptoms.
If you are suffering from it, then you may start feeling emotionally exhausted. Your work will not bring you the same sense of joy as it did before and you may start complaining more about it. You will feel more mentally and physically exhausted. This will make your behavior and judgment more impaired and make it harder to concentrate.
You are going to want to spend more time alone. It will also affect your sleep and you might even experience more nightmares. You may start feeling more depressed. You may feel that you aren't worth much and it will affect your view of yourself and the world and your beliefs.
You may start feeling as if you are hopeless and powerless. You will start experiencing existential despair. You will feel anger towards the perpetrators and blame them from their suffering. Lastly, you may be in denial of these symptoms as being due to compassion fatigue.
Compassion fatigue is not something that develops overnight. It takes years of neglecting self-care to help others to reach this point, but there is nothing to worry about as steps can be taken to deal with it.
According to Eric Gentry, traumatologist, people who are interested in caregiving enter the work already being compassion fatigued. They are people who are raised with the belief that it is important to help others before helping yourself. This makes self-care their least priority.
If you think you are suffering from this, then you might be.
The first step to dealing with compassion fatigue is awareness. Awareness can lead to the process of healing by working through your past traumas and pain so you can eventually lead a happier life. You need to start by educating yourself about compassion fatigue.
The healing process is not very hard.
The main thing you have to do is take some time out for yourself in your daily life. You can start exercising, eating healthier, taking part in social activities outside of work, getting a good night's sleep, work on building your resiliency, keep a journal.
You could also talk to other people about these problems to get the support you need who are not in your work, so you get a nice change.
It is important to express yourself verbally.
You could even try taking some time off work and clarify your personal boundaries. Take the time to identify what is important to you. Taking care of yourself is also very important in your process of helping other people. You should not feel bad about it as it is normal to experience it.
You can also seek professional help.
This is a problem that was mostly seen in health care professionals, but due to the media showing constant suffering, it has become a more common problem. It is important to be aware of it so that you can treat it. It is important that people don't lose compassion now as that is what the world so desperately needs.