Compassion Burnout, A Harsh Reality for Many Caregivers

Compassion burnout" is a common experience for caregivers, who often put the needs of others before their own. It's important to take time to relax and recharge, rather than pushing through it, in order to avoid becoming numb to others' suffering.

Compassion Burnout, A Harsh Reality for Many Caregivers

Sometimes you feel as though… if you hear of one more catastrophe befalling a friend or family member… one more tragedy, one more burden someone you care about has to bear, you’ll scream. Because,… you already feel so much sympathy and empathy for that person.

You have so much compassion for them and the trials they have faced. So much that you have none left to share with them, or anyone else.

Sometimes, the person facing trial after travail after tragedy is… you. And when you’re burdened with so much to worry about, hearing about someone else’s problems is just too much to face. You want to care, but you have nothing left in you to give.

This is especially true of people who are naturally compassionate. People-pleasers, those who just want everyone to be happy and comfortable. People who are caregivers… in other words.

Caregivers care. It’s what we do, who we are. We care about our families… our friends, even our acquaintances… even strangers, much more than others do. We care about their well being, about their safety, about their comfort.

We care about others so much; we forget to care about ourselves. Until our “care” gets used up.  And we cannot care any more. We’re just too overwhelmed to care.

That’s when caregivers worry about being bad people, because we cannot care as much as we think we should. When we wonder if we’ll let everyone down because we just cannot give a rat’s tail about what happens next to anyone. Even ourselves.

This is compassion burnout. It’s usually temporary, but there’s no set time limit on it. It happens to people in every walk of life, in every profession, at every level, at any age. Parents… caregivers… nurses… aides… doctors… teachers, therapists, first responders… people who care get worn out and become numb.

The best way to deal with it is to not push it, not try to hurry through it. Just try to relax, take each day as it comes. Sooner or later.. sometimes almost too soon … we will start caring again. Start worrying again. Start being compassionate again. Until the next time we’re so overwhelmed, our compassion burns up again….

Do you feel as if you have compassion burnout?

You are not alone. Please share what your feelings here. Your comments may help others that are struggling too.

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