Compassion fatigue is sometimes described as a feeling of being sucked into a downward spiraling vortex that leaves a person feeling physically, mentally and spiritually depleted.
It can come from witnessing tragedy and heartbreak and having an intense desire to fix or rescue someone, and then feeling distressed and guilty when your strategy doesn’t work out.
People who experience caregiver burnout have a tendency to withdraw and gradually become less empathic toward the person/people in their care. People who experience compassion fatigue have a tendency give more and more and more and work harder and harder and harder until they wake up one day and realize they have absolutely nothing left to give.
If you reach this point, you may be vulnerable to making some really bad choices. News Flash: You will not overcome compassion fatigue by getting a divorce, running to the liquor store, or eating ice cream out of a gallon container with a tablespoon.
The first step to recovering from this condition is to recognize and become aware of the fact that you have been ignoring your own needs. I found one tip I especially liked on the website: Overcoming Compassion Fatigue. Here it is:
“Have at least one focused, connected and meaningful conversation each day. This will jump start even the most depleted batteries. Time with family and close friends feeds the soul like nothing else and sadly seems to be the first thing to go when time is scarce.”
So today, I’d like for you to pick up the phone. Call someone who cares about you. At the very least have an honest conversation and let this person know how you are feeling and what you need.