Support for Helping
Your community, workplace, and patients/clients/students needed you, and you answered this call.
You were flexible.
You adjusted to updated protocols, you were creative with the lack of resources provided, and you learned new information on the fly.
You were resilient.
And now your tired.
All of those feelings and sensations that you were able to or are no longer
If you have been supporting others over the past few years, there may not be one word that adequately captures how you're feeling at this time.
Phase 1: The Eager Beaver
You’re enthusiastic, committed, and involved
If there’s a problem, you’ve got a solution
Working late, no problem
Phase 2: Getting Irritable
You begin to cut corners or start making mistakes
Your sense of humour has become uncomfortably dark
You begin to avoid patient/client contact and become distracted when they speak with you
You begin distancing yourself from others and avoid conversations
Phase 3: Withdrawal
Your interactions with patients/ clients have become a blur and are irritating to you
You neglect yourself, co-workers, patients/clients, and/or family
People may have made complaints about your attitude
You are beyond tired and are holding in a lot of pain and sadness
“The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting to be able to walk through water without getting wet.”
-Naomi Rachel Remen
You are a superhero, but you don't have superpowers
Compassion Fatigue Trajectory
Phase 4: The Zombie Phase
You're operating on autopilot and have disconnected from your thoughts and feelings
You have lost compassion for other people
You cannot find a sense of meaning or see your value
Phase 5: Your Breaking Point
Your mind and body are completely overwhelmed
You have begun to develop physical illnesses or mental health concerns
You go on stress or medical leave
You decide to leave your profession
You’re Human Too
It’s important to remember that you’re not a robot doing this work. You are a human being, who like other human beings, has had a range of life experiences. If you have experienced trauma that hasn’t been fully processed, these experiences will likely be triggered while caring for others. If you were the caretaker for family members growing up, it may feel like a daunting task to put boundaries around the care you provide. Similarly, it can be challenging to recognize the impact this work has on you if you grew up in a home that discouraged emotional expression. Recognizing how your personal history both supports and challenges you in your professional role can be beneficial.
Ready to get started or have more questions? Feel free to send me a message.