Compassion fatigue syndrome may result when you are emotionally or physically depleted from caring for someone who has experienced physical or emotional stress. This is a common issue with many first responders and therapists. Yet, it can happen to anyone that is caring for another person.
Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue
How do you know you’re experiencing compassion fatigue? The following are the most common signs that you may be experiencing compassion burnout.
1. You Feel Apathy
If you have lost interest or feel you just don’t care anymore, this isn’t a sign that you are an insensitive person. Moreover, it is a key symptom of compassion fatigue.
You may hear them talk about their problem, and you feel like you can’t do anything to help. You have begun to feel useless and powerless. And as guilty as you feel, you are also just tired of hearing about it.
At this stage, you may want to take a step back from the situation and ask a friend or therapist to step in. When you begin to feel compassion fatigue, your loved one or friend may notice signs of your disinterest and frustration, which doesn’t help you or them.
2. You Feel Anger
You may notice you feel anger toward this particular friend or loved one. While it can be difficult to redirect your anger, you may want to consider setting personal boundaries. This can help you process your emotions and avoid creating more conflict. If you struggle with setting boundaries, a therapist can help guide you through the process so that you can take care of yourself and others.
3. You Avoid Others
If you’ve started avoiding others, in this context, it is likely you are experiencing compassion fatigue. It’s important to assess this, and ask yourself: When was the last time you really connected with someone outside of this situation? You may feel as though you don’t have the energy to connect with others. And you may feel the constant need to recharge and unplug. That’s okay, but it’s crucial to listen to these signs. It’s an indicator that you may be at your emotional capacity. In this state, it can be difficult to truly help your loved one or friend until you take the steps to care for yourself and recharge.
4. You Become Negative
When you experience compassion fatigue, it can prove difficult to look at life on the bright side. You may notice that you have become more of a pessimist than an optimist lately. This is another sign that you may need to take a step back and focus on yourself.
5. You’re Exhausted
Fatigue is the main reason why you sway toward the negative, why you have begun isolating yourself, and why you may struggle to control your own emotions. The situation impacts you as well, and you might feel completely burned out because of it.
In addition to these major five signs, you may feel a loss of enjoyment in your own life, have difficulty focusing, and/or neglect self-care.
You may also struggle to admit that you are experiencing compassion fatigue. This is not uncommon. Yet, it creates a block where you are unable to accurately take note of how tired, stressed, and frustrated you truly are. In turn, this can escalate and impact other aspects of your life, which is why it’s critical to ask for and seek out help.
Compassion Fatigue Treatment
Luckily, there are many ways you can combat and treat compassion fatigue. Many experts recommend:
- Limiting how much you watch or read the news
- Focusing on what you can control and make progress toward accepting what you can’t control.
- Practicing gratitude and appreciating what you have in your life.
- Showing compassion to yourself through self-care, such as being kind to yourself, taking time for yourself, and participating in activities you enjoy.
- Setting emotional boundaries, and avoiding neglecting other relationships and connections.
- Seeking support when needed, like meeting with a therapist or talking to a close friend.
If you’re unsure how to approach your compassion fatigue, talking to a professional therapist can help you process and sort out your emotions. It can also help you determine where you can make improvements and help yourself. At Bhatia Psychology Group, we listen and we care. We’re here to help you through the tough times and help you find coping strategies that work for the rest of your life. Book your appointment today.