It may not be depression; it may be COMPASSION FATIGUE.
Compassion Fatigue is something that can affect any person who works in a vocation where high levels of client, patient, or personal care are required.
By nature, many people working in the mental health care field, aged care sector, hospital environment, and even personal carers are all known to be 'givers.' Often giving of themselves to the point of complete and utter exhaustion.
All human beings have a threshold of what they can deal with on an ongoing basis, however, there may come a time when your resilience or ability to listen/care/do/ for another person becomes non-existent.
Our ability to be and demonstrate empathy and understanding at all times is not infinite. Even the most caring heart and beautiful mind can start to feel overwhelmed when the demands of others surpass our ability to replenish our bucket of wellness.
As a Counsellor, I see this often in my clients. Clients will present at the clinic feeling confused, angry, exhausted, and without motivation of any type. Most of these clients fear that they have moved into a depressive state and don’t know why.
For some, there's a feeling that they cannot go on in their chosen field for another minute, let alone a few more years.
When investigating why a client feels like they do, we often discover the client is suffering from Compassion Fatigue and while depression can be a culprit as a result of compassion fatigue, they are two different beasts.
So, before you diagnose yourself with depression or start playing the blame game for not being caring anymore, perhaps consider that you may have Compassion Fatigue.
In part 2, next week, I will explain how you can start the journey back from Compassion Fatigue.