Paul C. Edwards

As I was going through the material for this week I noticed that I seem to fall more into the category of burnout and not so much compassion fatigue. I know I do not experience anger or resentment when I am paged or called upon to respond to an intensely traumatic event. No matter how tired/exhausted I might be, I find that I am able to easily make the transition to empathy, compassion, etc. and I am wholly/fully present. Another observation I have, arising out of the material, and certainly identifying with Rick’s comments, is that, no matter how much rest I might get, it never seems to be enough. Maybe I need a sabbatical?

I found it fascinating when the material referenced secondary trauma. Early on in my chaplaincy experience, that might have been an issue for me. Not as much, these days, but it’s still something that lingers. I guess the big question is, “how do you just turn it off and go on about your business like the tragedy/loss did not occur?” I frown at those in my ministry setting who boldly proclaim that we should all “leave work at work”. It’s not as easy as one would like to think.

In terms of symptoms, mine is mainly insomnia – can’t sleep, and then on the other end, it is waking up at some strange hour and not being able to resume sleep. That kind of interruption/disjointed sleep pattern leaves me even more tired. Each week day,/night I’m on edge, with high anxiety that the pager “might” go off. So, when I am not on-call on Saturdays, as of 7:01am, that’s when I find myself really at ease/at peace. Then it starts all over again on Monday.