Healthy Mind

What is compassion fatigue?

This can leave you in a situation where you feel hopeless and depressed, because you simply don’t know what you can do to help or how you can relieve the pain of your loved one. 
If this situation sounds familiar, then you could be suffering from a condition known as compassion fatigue.
Compassion fatigue was first noticed amongst nurses working in difficult circumstances, such as casualty departments, however it can affect any individual who is affected by feelings of helplessness and hopelessness when they are faced with responsibility for caring for or loving an individual whose prognosis is very poor.
Compassion fatigue can present itself in many different ways, but some of the most common and widely acknowledged symptoms of the condition include: anger and depression, feelings of exhaustion and irritability, as well as experiencing physical symptoms such as headaches and gastrointestinal complaints. 
If you are at college or university then you are likely to find that compassion fatigue will cause your studies and your grades to suffer very quickly. 
If you are suffering from compassion fatigue you should seek the support and advice of your faculty advisor to make them aware of the situation and enable them to help you to continue to make your studies a success.
Overcoming compassion fatigue isn’t something that can happen overnight, but it is reassuring to know that you already have the tools in your armoury to overcome the condition. 
Focusing on what brings on your compassion fatigue and ensuring that you avoid triggers that may cause you anxiety, as well as adapting new routines, can all help you to find a healthier way to deal with your anxieties. 
If you feel you need additional help and support, then you may find working with a therapist is beneficial, and certainly recommended.                    
Compassion fatigue is a serious condition, and one that can affect any individual directly or indirectly affected by illness or trauma. 
However if you think you or someone in your family is suffering from compassion fatigue, it is important to seek treatment and support as soon as possible so that you can put your problems behind you and get on with your life. 
Photo: Michael Clesle/ Flickr