My counselor thinks that I may have empathy/compassion fatigue from taking care of sick cats for so long. I knew that I was in some kind of burnout, and I looked up the symptoms for compassion fatigue, and some of them really fit me. It makes sense that I would have this, too, not only from taking care of the cats but also from all the service work that I was led to do in AA, and from having to hear people constantly complain about their problems and drinking past while in AA. I bet that I’ve had some form of this for a very long time. I also tended to be the caregiver in my family, and took care of the kids and elderly people in my family from the time that I was a kid. So it makes sense that eventually I would develop something like this.
What I find interesting is that in the articles I looked at, aches, pains, and fatigue were all symptoms of compassion and empathy fatigue. That really hits home to me, because sometimes I don’t know where my aches and pains are coming from.
Finding this out basically means that I need to practice more self care, and make sure to do fun and relaxing things in life. I have been doing that more and more the last couple of months, and I am feeling better. But because I’m still taking care of a cat who has cancer, I need to be extra gentle on myself. I’m also really glad that I left AA so that I’m not burdened with having to hear people’s war stories all of the time, because that was really emotionally draining to me for a lot of years (and depressing).
Anyways, here’s a link to more information on compassion fatigue:
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