Compassion Fatigue

I was reading this month’s newsletter from RSDSA, and there was an article written by a gentleman who was a caregiver for his wife with CRPS, and coordinates a CRPS Support group. He mentioned a condition called Compassion Fatigue, common in many caregivers. Studies confirm that caregivers play host to a high level of compassion fatigue. Day in, day out caregivers struggle to function in care-giving environments that constantly present heart wrenching emotional challenges. Compassion Fatigue symptoms are normal displays of chronic stress resulting from caregiving, especially when caring for someone with a painful, incurable disease. If you sense that you are suffering from this condition, chances are excellent that you are. Your path to wellness begins with one small step: awareness. A heightened awareness can lead to insights, even regarding past traumas and painful situations that you are reliving within the confines of the caregiving you provide.

Many resources are available to help you recognize the causes and symptoms of compassion fatigue. Healing begins by employing such simple practices as regular exercise, healthy eating habits, enjoyable social activities, journaling, and restful sleep.

Accepting the presence of compassion fatigue in your life only serves to validate the fact that you care. Somewhere along your healing path, the truth will present itself. You don’t have to make a choice. It is possible to practice healthy on-going self-care while successfully continuing to care for others.

Lee Greenan