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  • Writer's pictureJulie Galloway, LPC-RPT

What Is the Cost of Caring? A Battle Within Extraordinary Minds

There are only four kinds of people in this world- those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who need caregivers.” ~Rosalynn Carter

1. It starts with Lending a Hand.

Caregivers do the things that most people take for granted. The role requires and demands physical and emotional skills needed to help others with basic fundamental human needs, assisting with life skills and taking proactive measures to ensure the safety of their people.

These helpers are required to be present and actively aware of the other person’s needs, even when that person does not know what those needs are. Compassion and empathy are the pillars of caregiving.

The role and title of caregiver is a journey that often appears the same; a high potential for burnout or compassion fatigue.

2. Burnout vs Compassion Fatigue

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.

Compassion fatigue is a condition characterized by emotional and physical exhaustion leading to a diminished ability to empathize or feel compassion for others, often described as the negative cost of caring. It is sometimes referred to as secondary traumatic stress.

3. Causes of Burnout or Compassion Fatigue.

Work overload with little to no breaks from the responsibilities that come along with the role can attribute greatly. Feelings of guilt are often experienced and are deterrents to getting the much needed self-care required for sustainability.

4. Symptoms of Burnout and Compassion Fatigue

  • anger and irritability

  • depression

  • sleeplessness

  • hopelessness or helplessness

  • physical exhaustion

As a clinical mental health counselor and a mother of a teen living with exceptionalities, my hands represent a helper’s hands willing to assist you through your helping journey. Together we can help bring forth the beauty, compassion and empathy that we all desire when we help each other.

Helping you, helping them, is helping us.

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