Well, compassion fatigue is something different, sure, but it all boils down to being … fatigued.
I mentioned in my post from yesterday that I’m either fighting a pinched nerve, carpal tunnel, or both; on top of that, I am just mentally and emotionally exhausted. Have been for longer than I care to try and figure. However, I’ve started taking better care of myself. For example, I’m typing this post from my new Kinesis Gaming Keyboard: it’s split in the middle and I got lifts for it, so my hands rest at a more natural angle. It will take a bit of getting used to and likely a bit of time to get my typing speed up to where it was, but I’m game (ha … see what I did there?), as it will lighten the load on my arms, wrists, and small (and large) forearm muscles. That alone will help the nerve pain, whatever it is. I figured that after creating this Frankenstein-like holder for my mouse; there are no vertical roller ball mice, at least that I can find (if you’ve seen one, PLEASE send me a link!!!) and while it helps alleviate pressure from a traditional mouse, I needed it to stand up. I never thought about that with my keyboard. Sigh …
It would be great if ‘fixing’ compassion fatigue was as simple as swapping out an add-on device.
According to the American Institute of Stress, there are specific symptoms of Compassion Fatigue and it differs from burnout:
Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue
– Affects many dimensions of your well-being
– Nervous system arousal (Sleep disturbance)
– Emotional intensity increases
– Cognitive ability decreases
– Behavior and judgment impaired
– Isolation and loss of morale
– Depression and PTSD (potentiate)
– Loss of self-worth and emotional modulation
– Identity, worldview, and spirituality impacted
– Beliefs and psychological needs-safety, trust, esteem, intimacy, and control
– Loss of hope and meaning=existential despair
– Anger toward perpetrators or causal events
Now, not everyone suffering from Compassion Fatigue deals with every one of the symptoms listed here, but it’s likely they experience several from time to time while it’s present.
I know I have.
I’m beginning to address it, just scratching the surface, having had a conversation with my counselor yesterday and invoking the term. She pointed me to a book about burnout and stress that I ordered immediately. I hope to use this space as I read it to help me process.
I also hope you’ll take the ride.