Recognizing compassion fatigue.

Knowing is half the battle.

Compassion fatigue symptoms are elevated displays of stress resulting from the caregiving work we perform on a regular basis. While the symptoms are often disruptive, depressive and irritating, naming the symptoms and their negative effect on our lives can lead to positive change, personal transformation, and a higher level of resiliency. Reaching a point where we have control over our own life choices takes time and hard work. There is no magic involved. There is only commitment to make our lives the best they can be.

Common symptoms present in an individual include:

• Blames excessively
• Bottles up emotions
• Isolates from others
• Voices excessive complaints about administrative functions
• Employs substance abuse to self-medicate
• Ignores self-care (i.e., hygiene, appearance)
• Suffers from chronic ailments such as gastrointestinal problems and recurrent colds
• Inability to enjoy once pleasurable activities
• Feels apathetic, sad
• Employs denial as a means of self-preservation
• Experiences recurring nightmares and flashbacks