The compassion and the empathy are necessary gifts for people who They have dedicated their lives to caring for others. However, they can also sometimes be quite a burden. In the field of psychology, “compassion fatigue” is understood to refer to the emotional consequences that people who, through work or vocation, have to deal with help suffering people.
How does it manifest?
Although the term “compassion fatigue” is relatively modern, the anxiety disorder which it denotes has been known for a long time. It is an anxiety disorder most likely in people who work on the front lines such as firefighters, nurses, first responders, psychotherapists or oncologists. The same predisposition to empathy that pushed them to choose this professional option, also frequently causes them to eliminate the emotional barriers that separate them from the pain, remaining totally exposed and vulnerable to trauma.
By exposing himself in this way so close to the disease and the deathcontinuously and without having an outlet for these negative emotions… these people they end up repressing these emotions; which can lead -in turn- to symptoms reminiscent of post-traumatic stress disorder; including, for example, irritability, intrusive memories, insomnia, anxiety, depressionfeelings of overwhelm, etc.
Over time, compassion fatigue leads to apathy and the cynicism. Those affected are also reluctant to work with certain patients, they feel dissatisfied and distracted… and they end up making more mistakes than usual. Likewise, it is also normal for them to suffer chronic tiredness and exhaustionheadaches, muscle tension and digestive symptoms.
Strategies and balance
The first recommendation usually given by experts and researchers who have studied this disorder is the self awareness. As with many other mental disorders, people with compassion fatigue may not be aware of the emotional toll they are paying for doing their job. For this, it is usually convenient to have the opinion of family and close environmentbecause they are usually the first to observe these emotional changes.
Related literature also frequently highlights the importance of social support around the caregiver, both in their private and professional lives. Introspection and reflection in solitude can help find strategies to deal with situations without interrupting life. So this social support may simply be be there to listen to this person, but it can also be respect the break time that so much deserves From the work environment there are also many strategies that can be deployed to take care of the emotional health of employees. care programs, psychotherapysupport groups, training courses in stress control, the implementation of effective communication strategies, etc.
Strategies that can be established from the personal and work environment They are always necessary, but they will never be enough.. The most important work is the one that must be done by the affected person. Managing the impact of constant exposure to the trauma of others calls for a daily commitment to one’s own well-being. No matter how busy the schedule, it is necessary set aside time for rest. Understanding by rest not only the physical rest, but also the emotional one. In other words, disconnecting by spending time in happy and positive environments becomes a priority, because only then is it possible. find meaning and balance.