Thursday, October 9, 2014

And now we have Compassion Fatigue - and an appropriate awareness campaign - and an appropriate challenge...

Perhaps you may not have noticed, but it's October. And while old people like me celebrate Rocktober with abandon, younger folks know that October is the time to wear pink. Yes, everyone, get rid of all of those ice buckets from the summer ice bucket challenges, and wear pink to show that you care about breast cancer. After all, our National Football League is telling us to wear pink - despite the fact that some allege that the NFL's efforts amount to "deadly misinformation.".

But the ALS ice bucket challenge and the various breast cancer challenges are just a small part of what's going on. There are all sorts of things - homeless puppies, homeless people, global warming, bullying - that vie for our "awareness." And we don't want to be selfish, uncaring people, do we? So some people try to be aware about everything, and end up getting overwhelmed by this.

This need to be aware about everything has a name - "compassion fatigue."

And, needless to say, we need to be aware about it.

Caring too much can hurt. When caregivers focus on others without practicing self-care, destructive behaviors can surface. Apathy, isolation, bottled up emotions and substance abuse head a long list of symptoms associated with the secondary traumatic stress disorder now labeled: Compassion Fatigue

While the effects of Compassion Fatigue can cause pain and suffering, learning to recognize and manage its symptoms is the first step toward healing. The Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project© is dedicated to educating caregivers about authentic, sustainable self-care and aiding organizations in their goal of providing healthy, compassionate care to those whom they serve.

Yes, Virginia (and Maryland), there is a Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project.

And yes, I'm sure that they mean well. Everybody means well.

But more needs to be done.

Although we have reached so many people and organizations that have reached out to us, we still feel like we have only just begun. Over the years, we have noticed a major obstacle to starting down the path to authentic, sustainable self-care for many organizations: financial constraints. Let's face it...Whether it's purchasing books and training materials, providing professional development for staff, or inviting guest speakers to lecture on current topics in healthy caregiving, everyone is concerned about decreasing budgets. But often times, a single step in the right direction is all it takes to get the ball rolling.

Which is why we have started the $1,000 CFAP Challenge!

And if you don't donate to the CFAP Challenge - well, then, you're a terrible person who just doesn't care. I'm pretty sure that CFAP wouldn't say that, but the tendency to think it is still there.

I wonder if someone has started a compassion fatigue fatigue organization yet.
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