Compassion Fatigue—The Personal Side
Years ago, when I started this work, I found myself with a large caseload of trauma survivors. I remember a colleague of mine at the time warning me to be mindful of compassion fatigue. I did not put much thought into his advice until several hurricanes struck Florida back to back at that time–as well as Louisiana—while my caseload of trauma survivors continued to increase.
I remember watching TV footage of the devastation in Louisiana and thinking, “I need to turn this off. I can’t take any more.” The “any more” for me at that time was to care. To expend emotional energy. It was at that moment that my friend’s warning of fatigue came back to me and I knew I needed additional support. Thankfully, I had a few lunches with a counselor friend of mine and was able to get back on track before falling into full blown compassion fatigue.
With COVID consuming our lives since the month of March, many of us are experiencing burnout or the beginning phases of compassion fatigue. We have had to care so hard for so long about so many things. We worry about our health, our loved ones and our jobs. We worry about the future. And it is not just COVID contributing to our stress. There have been shootings, deaths, protests and civil unrest. And many other social issues pulling at our emotions. While all of this is happening, we find ourselves disconnected from our support systems. We cannot go to the gym, attend church or even meet our friends socially for dinner the way we did previously due to COVID. These are challenging times and none of us are immune to feeling emotional fatigue.
If you are feeling burned out, you are not alone. Realizing you are struggling is the first step to getting help. If you are feeling hopeless or helpless we can help. Engaging with an empathetic and seasoned mental health professional will provide you with the support you need during these challenging times. You cannot successfully care for all of those around you if you do not first take care of yourself. Please contact our office today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.