That's a common buzz-phrase these days, and it's used by people who get oh-so-tired of the tragedies that are aired on the news and social media.
"I just can't stand seeing another story about refugees. I have compassion fatigue."
Actually, no, You're just tired of looking.
Compassion fatigue is pretty specific to first responders and trauma-care personnel who are in a situation in which they are overwhelmed by numbers and scope of casualties, and have to retreat within themselves to survive. They are the ones who are there, and they know what blood, in large spilled quantities, smells like.
And it can apply to caregivers, as well.
There may or may not be blood, and the overwhelming part of the situation is concentrated around one patient...but seeing a relentless decline, seeing more and more pain and debility, seeing how hopeless it gets...that can put you into a position in which you have to be numb to endure it. Cold and distant, and you'll hate yourself for it.
Because the other alternative may be a kind of breakdown, a place in which your emotions are so raw that you go on crying jags, triggered by absurd things.
Or you become easily angered, and feel - often - like throwing at dish across the room...or at the person you're caring for.
Don't flinch. You may some day feel like doing just that.
And it's OK.
This road may not be easy; it may be the hardest and most soul-scarring experience you'll ever have, caring for a dying husband or wife.
It's important how you get through it, but even more important that you get through it.
Some days will be ugly, and you'll feel ugly.
Just keep breathing. You're OK. The bad feelings are OK.
You have the right to be tired.
Just don't throw the plate at the person.
If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.
Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links (they're 99 cents each). And if you'd like a free PDF, please email me at tempusfugit02 (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll gladly send them