In this episode, we discuss compassion fatigue in the caregiver, including symptoms and ways to combat compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue, or secondary trauma, can occur over the course of care giving a child with special needs. Symptoms may include isolation, substance abuse, compulsive behaviors, poor self-care, sadness, fatigue, being preoccupied, poor sleep, decreased cognitive abilities, low self-worth, loss of hope and meaning, anger, irritability, and poor personal relationships. Jolene, our guest, experienced stress, anxiety/worry, and isolation when her son was younger.
At her bests moments, she would cope by talking to others and crying. At her worst moments, she would blame herself and focus strongly on work. The hardest aspect of compassion fatigue for her was uncertainty/lack of control. Jolene discusses crises of faith and how to work through it. Crises of faith can exacerbate compassion fatigue if the issues aren’t worked through adequately.
However, spirituality itself can actually reduce symptoms of compassion fatigue. When she was experiencing compassion fatigue, mindfulness as a concept did not exist yet. However, she would use journaling, writing about what she was grateful for, prayer, a bible study group, and taking some time alone every day. The best ways to reduced compassion fatigue include meditation, vacations, therapy, hobbies, regular exercise, good sleep, eating well, drinking water, and cutting out alcohol.
However, this is really hard to do when you are a parent of a child with special needs. Therefore, you have to be sneaky and clever about how you take care of yourself, otherwise, you might experience unpleasant health problems. Jolene recommends taking a few minutes to yourself every day, considering a “staycation”, counting your blessings, finding respite care, finding additional help with caring for the child, psychotherapy via telehealth, googling exercise routines that fit your needs, exercising with your kids, and cooking easy meals. Her favorite tips are finding a positive friend, make a list of things that other people can do to help you, and curating hobbies.
Compassion Fatigue Blog Post 2
Lazy Genius Collective
Little Stories For Tiny People
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Lion Roar: Lion Roar by Iwan Gabovitch under CC-BY 3.0 License (www.freesound.org)
Intro Outro: Intro Outro 2 by Mattias Lahoud under CC-BY 3.0 License (www.freesound.org)
Theme Song: 90s rock style by monkeyman535 under CC-BY 3.0 License(www.freesound.org)
Self Care Song: Green and Orange No Water by Duncan Alex under CC-BY 3.0 License (www.freesound.org)
Hosted by: Jessica Temple and Lewis Temple
Disclaimer: Our show is not designed to provide listeners with specific or personal legal, medical, or professional services or advice. Parents of children with health issues should always consult their health care provider for medical advice, medication, or treatment.
Copyright 2020 Jessica and Lewis Temple