Deanna Stringer

Last week I tried to post on Dr. Louw’s journal article for week 2, and in saving it, hit the wrong key and wiped it out so I will try again. I have always thought of compassion fatigue in physical terms (more as the articles describe burnout), so thinking of compassion fatigue from a spiritual viewpoint is a new perspective. I see almost all medical personnel struggle with the idea of a calling to care and the idea that they can’t give up because of the suffering of the vulnerable. We want to honor our calling but need to balance and be realistic in our boundaries. Some people can compartmentalize but what affects one portion of our lives affects all the compartments eventually. (family, work, leisure, etc.) It is when we cross the “God” boundary and begin to think that we are  indispensable to the caregiving that the compassion fatigue takes it’s greatest toll. Rather than having a realistic understanding of our caregiving, we push and don’t give up or we compare our caregiving to a standard of perfection (God’s caregiving) and always come up short. We begin to see ourselves as inadequate, hopeless, ineffective even when we have given the physical, mental, and emotional energy that we have to offer.   From a personal perspective, I guess, I did this yesterday myself. My son is 11 and has developmental delays, epileptic, and we believe autistic. I kind of had a meltdown after he had a fit yesterday and said, “I am ready not to be his mom anymore.” We adopted him a little  over a year ago. I felt that I could no longer continue doing all the “right” counseling techniques and positive reinforcements, and all the things you are supposed to do with a child that has gone through trauma and has behavioral issues. In talking with my daughter who is 27 and had experience with orphans in foreign countries, I did find myself feeling inadequate, hopeless, and ineffective. In doing this reflection, guess I need to give myself some grace or I am going to crash from being a mom to a child that has gone through trauma himself.