Compassion Fatigue

Caregiving is not an easy task, and each caregiver experiences different drains on their energy that often go unnoticed. The cost of caregiving is often burnout - the experience of no longer feeling the connection to those we care for. Burnout, combined with either post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or secondary traumatic stress (STS), leads to Compassion Fatigue.

Compassion Fatigue can affect caregivers in all domains, including therapists, teachers, nurses, and at home caregivers. If you find yourself overwhelmed and unable to restore yourself through your normal self-care, you may be experiencing burnout. If you find yourself experiencing all the tell-tale signs of burnout while also increasingly unable to connect to those you care for while feeling unable to escape those you care for, you may be experiencing Compassion Fatigue.

Compassion Fatigue is a mental illness which is characterized by prolonged emotional symptoms including:

  • Apathy
  • Sadness
  • Guilt
  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability
  • Increased trauma symptoms
  • Inability to connect
  • Inability to relax

Every case is unique and requires individual attention, but there are a number of effective complementary ways of treating depression, including:

  • Talk therapy
  • Increasing self-care across different domains
  • Learning to self-regulate heightened emotional content

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