compassion fatigue

You might think this title applies to me.

This has been one week for the books for sure.   All 5 of us have had a stomach bug.   The normal yuck of stomach bug is plenty with able bodied people.  But for those who are 13, and still wear diapers, and don’t know how to vomit with any notion of getting out of the way of it, it is particularly trying, and horrifying to some degree.

But, I really love being a mommy.  Plus, added bonus, God gave me an iron stomach.

Ministering to Gwendolyn all night last Wednesday, keeping her as clean and dry as possible, and helping her try to get some amount of rest from the obvious pain she was in, was really a blessing to the both of us.  We both got to giggling about the silliest things.  Her sweet “talking” after each time I assisted her, just blessed my heart.  God has given her little heart a way of loving that is beyond any way I could describe.

For those who prayed for us – thank you so very much!  God listened and gave me enough energy.   Thankful for prayers, kit kats, and McDonalds that night.

And we are so thankful for all the amazing assistance we received this week.  Thankful for all the folks who jumped in to help in the middle of their busy days and lives.  Bringing dinner, driving a child, going to the store for me.  Sweet friends who took me out to to dinner in the middle of the week to nourish body, mind and spirit, unknowing of how it would sustain me the rest of the week.

People who have room for others.

But the extra trials of the week highlighted another interesting phenomenon.

Compassion fatigue.   Fatigue – tired.  Compassion – sympathy and concern for others.  Tired of giving sympathy and concern for others.

A term used in lots of ways,  to describe reactions to circumstances.  In a clinical manner the term describes situations with a professional who has lost perspective on reality due to care of patients or clients (doctors, nurses, lawyers).

But for special needs parents, the term describes 2 different circumstances:

1- Special needs parents use the term to describe burn out for themselves.  The parents may have lost any compassion for family and friends due to the over extending of themselves in caring for a loved one.

2- Special needs parents see compassion fatigue in others around them.

Compassion fatigue is seen in professionals dealing with their child.

Compassion fatigue is seen in family.

Compassion fatigue is seen in work associates.

Compassion fatigue is seen in friends and acquaintances.

Special needs parents lives are a bit like a soap opera, and well, we know it.  SUPER highs and SUPER lows, and lots and lots of in between up and down.

People who have special needs parents as a friend or relative or acquaintance or co-worker, get a “tired of the drama” about them.   They get compassion fatigue.

People get tired of giving assistance and sympathy

when the circumstances never change.

But guess what?  Hear me on this …..

Compassion fatigue is normal.

Compassion fatigue is ok.

Compassion fatigue is understandable.

In Christ, there is freedom.

In Christ, there is grace.

Compassion fatigue means others are experiencing their limited too, because:

  Everyone is limited


2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NASB) And He said to me “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.





2 thoughts on “compassion fatigue

  1. You actually make it appear so easy along with your presentation however I in finding this topic to be actually something which I believe I would by no means understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me. I’m having a look forward on your next submit, I’ll try to get the cling of it!


    1. Thank you for reading and for your comment. I believe that compassion fatigue is a human condition. Even those gifted in compassion get tired of giving it. However, God never runs out of compassion for us. He continues faithfully in care, concern and support especially in the hardest days whether anyone else does or not.


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