Hi this is Anthony at Rosa’s Adult Care Home. Whether a person is young or old, if you are in the role of caretaking, compassion fatigue happens when emotional residue, whether from work and/or life, compromises personal well-being. Those who have experienced compassion fatigue describe it as being sucked into a vortex that pulls them slowly downward. They have no idea how to stop the downward spiral, so they do what they’ve (always) done: work harder. Compassion fatigue is a one-way street, in which individuals are giving out a great deal of energy and compassion to others over a period of time, yet aren’t able to get enough back to reassure themselves that the world is a hopeful place. It’s this constant outputting of compassion and caring over time that can lead to these feelings.
Compassion fatigue doesn’t just happen, it develops over time, so it is important to address some of the possible symptoms and there are many symptoms.
- Low level, chronic clouding of caring and concern for others in your life
- Lowered frustration tolerance/outbursts of anger or rage
- Increased negative arousal
- Losing sleep over a person you have tried to help
- Dread of working with certain callers
- Diminished sense of purpose/enjoyment with career
- Marked or increasing transference/counter transference issues with certain clients
- Feeling trapped
- Feelings of resentment
- Difficulty separating work life from personal life
- Negative arousal in the forms hypervigiliance, sleep disturbances, irritability and anxiety.
- Not caring about the person you’re helping
- Wishing you did not have to come to work
- Relating poorly and feeling tense hostile uncooperative
- Decreased functioning in non-professional situations
- Feeling spiritually and emotionally robbed
- Health issues such as headaches, flu like symptoms and feeling achy
- Wanting to abuse drugs, alcohol, food, gambling and sex
- Loss of productivity
- Preoccupation with negative thoughts
- emotional/physical drain of continuous empathy
- Feels a sense of vulnerability
- Not caring
Stay tuned for part 2 and learn how to better deal with compassion fatigue.