So many people are feeling the effects of compassion fatigue. It's something mostly first responders, therapists, and our military experienced prior to 2020. With ongoing reports of Covid-19 cases on the rise, schools and businesses being forced to shut down, and children being told they have no choice other than to learn remotely, compassion fatigue is widespread. Even Mental Health workers are feeling the effects and are walking off the job mentally exhausted.
Our psyche and our hearts can only take so much grief. We can feel sorry that people have died, that communities suffer, that teachers are afraid to return to work, but eventually the questions come around to the one who is being forced to put the needs of others before them. Parents are exhausted trying to engage their children 24/7 at home and are giving up by diving into alcohol and smoking pot. Children are following their parent's lead and are mentally checking out of their school work or not even showing up to class. I heard this week that an 11 year-old boy committed suicide while on-line with his class. We are and have been for sometime at the breaking point. What is the solution? Get back to living our lives.
If you are listening to the news, turn it off. There is nothing new to hear. It's STILL all about the election and who is truly the winner. It's about the economy, the shut-downs, and the blame game that has been the same focus of discontent for years. It's nothing new and there is nothing you can do about any of it anyway. It causes you to worry increasingly, feel anxious, and get depressed when you don't know what to do to fix the problems. Everyone in a position of influence has an agenda and all the consequences of their decisions fall on the backs of the masses. Do what you can to feel empowered. Focus on your needs first. What does your family need? Look around your neighborhood, can you help someone on your street? If we start within our own sphere of influence by giving to those closest to us, we will begin to feel a little more in control of our world. And that can allow us to be more compassionate to the ones we know and love best. We can learn to be compassionate, but we want to do it in a healthy way.
Signs of compassion fatigue:
Mood Swings- When you feel like your world is spinning out of control emotions can have radical fluctuations.
Detachment- You feel yourself not caring anymore, isolating, and withdrawing from life.
Addiction- Remember you can be addicted to a person, place, or thing. It's not just alcohol or drugs.
Anxiety- You can't stop worrying about everything that is going on around you, you feel fearful and vulnerable.
Depression- This is often revealed as sadness and unexpected tears, but also by explosive anger and self-harm behaviors.
Insomnia- Difficulty getting restful sleep can exacerbate the above symptoms because you're even more exhausted and sleep deprived.
Somatic Responses- Head and Stomach aches, back pain, and unexplained aches and pains throughout your body.
If you are experiencing these symptoms please get help. A professional therapist who can provide you fresh insights, new ways to decrease symptoms, and provide you a safe place to cry is very helpful to overcoming compassion fatigue. It's more than talk therapy; it is purposeful therapy.