Whether your job requires that you struggle to function in a care giving environment that constantly presents heart-wrenching-emotional challenges, or you are a Sandwich generation caregiver torn between the needs of your young children and the needs of your dependent elders, Compassion Fatigue is something you should always be aware of.
Do you strongly identify with the pain of others?
Does it seem like you can actually feel their pain?
You are not alone. Your empathy has everything to do with your desire to become a care giver in the first place.
It’s also the reason you are so susceptible to Compassion Fatigue.
The first step to healing is awareness.
What Are the Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue?
- sleep deprivation
- poor eating habits
- lack of vigorous regular exercise
- lack of social activity
- inability to concentrate
Have you put yourself at the bottom of the list?
Women tend to put their family’s needs before their own, anyway.
When you are a primary care giver, or employed as a care giver, lack of self care becomes an even bigger issue. If you notice self care falling away completely, it is time to reach out and get help.
Healing doesn’t happen in isolation.
Make yourself aware of the symptoms of depression so that you will notice them in yourself. Use those symptoms as red flags that you are not meeting your needs.
Lack of self care results in symptoms of depression, there is just no getting around it!
Surround yourself with a support system. It is your life line!
As a care giver you know how much those in your charge rely on you. Now, be that care giver for yourself. Join others in the same situation and encourage each other to get moving, and eat healthy, as well as to make time for sleep.
Napping is not a crime! In fact, it may be exactly what you need.
Get that body moving, and hook up with your support system frequently to share a good dose of laughter! It really is the best medicine.
If you still notice troublesome symptoms that keep arising, even though you’ve improved self care and your support system is sensitive to your needs, you may be dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
What Are the Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome?
- rapid heart rate
- elevated blood pressure
- increased perspiration
- difficulty breathing
- feeling faint
- racing thoughts and/or feeling confused
- memory impairment
- poor attention span and concentration
- difficulty making decisions
- intrusive memories and/or flashbacks
- change of one’s awareness of one’s surroundings
- feeling overwhelmed and/or detached
- hopelessness and/or helplessness
- fear and/or avoidance of similar situations
- anger and/or hostility
- questioning of one’s religious values
- social withdrawal
- sleep disturbances
- change in eating habits
- loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities
- substance use
- absent-mindedness and being prone to accidents
Did you know that 15–20% of emergency response personnel will experience Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in their lifetime?
Exposure to any traumatic even can have negative short or long-term consequences such as:
- social disfunction
- impaired occupational functioning
- relationship breakdown
- attempted and successful suicides
This is nothing to be taken lightly or brushed under the rug.
Heightened awareness can lead to insights regarding past traumas and painful situations that are being relived over and over within the confines of your symptoms and behaviors.
The Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project is dedicated to helping you find the resources you need to achieve your healing.
Joining with care givers just like you will help. There are many resources available for trauma caregivers, family caregivers, and animal caregivers, as well as general caregiving resources.
Reach out to friends and family. They WANT you to burden them, they really do. Don’t rob them of the opportunity to help you through the rough times, the same way you would want to be there for them if they were in your shoes.
I know from experience that when the shit hits the fan in a hospital setting, you stuff your emotions so that you can stay functional.
Those stuffed emotions are still living within you.
Post Traumatic Stress can show up with similar symptoms to Compassion Fatigue
Free your-self and feel better than you have in years!
Free your-self and really find your Joy again!
Free your-self because otherwise it may just cost you everything you love and cherish!
When your heightened awareness brings you emotions that take your legs out from under you, remember to be your own caregiver.
- Get Outside and Enjoy the SunShine and Fresh Air!
- Give Yourself the Gift of Stress Management
- Ask for Help, offer Help, and Become a Member of Your Community
- Join The Life Breath Club and get the support you need.
Click on the link below and learn about the benefits of becoming a member.
Carrie Tucker, RCP
The Life Breath Coach
Heart Failure Solutions
PS– Remember everyday:
Relax and Release tension
Be active in a way that adds Joy to your life
Plus pure water ~whole foods~sunshine~and laughter