Written By: Rosie Riott ~ @rosie_riott
Like many of you, I spent the majority of my time taking care of others, nurturing my relationships, and giving the people what they wanted. As women, we love to love. It’s what we know. It’s what we love to do. To be honest, if a friend needed me, no matter the time or day, I showed up, never batting a lash. I just couldn’t help not putting everyone before myself; I didn’t even realize my personal well-being was dwindling. Because I was too busy being “that person” for just about anyone that approached me, my mental health was on a fast downward spiral. After a long day of work, I’d sit at my table thinking about my day overcomed with stress and anxiety. My mind was a mess. My laundry was piling up. The lists of things I had to do were building.
My friends were always telling me that I was taking on too much, that I was always too busy taking care of others, that I needed to do me for a change.
They were right.
One day, that lightbulb in my head finally sparked. I woke up and realized enough is enough. The stress was eating me alive and knew it was time for me to regain my self worth. That day, I set out to find a counselor, someone I could talk to weekly that wouldn’t judge me, that would allow me to unload everything I was taking on day by day. She told me I had something called Compassion Fatigue.
"Compassion Fatigue is a state experienced by those helping people or animals in distress; it is an extreme state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it can create a secondary traumatic stress for the helper."
- Dr. Charles Figley
After hearing this, it all began to make sense. Compassion Fatigue? Yes, absolutely! She then taught me ways to shake it off.
Envision yourself talking to these people with a special hat on. Once the conversation is over, envision yourself taking this hat off, separating you and their stressors.
Say you’re having a deep, heartfelt conversation, giving them advice, showing your compassion.. Once the conversation is over, shake it off. I mean, literally, shake it off. These issues are not yours to keep.
I know, I know.. Both sound silly, but they work; I promise!
What I didn’t realize was that everyday, I was taking on not only my issues, but I was acting like a sponge for everyone else around me. I realize now that I, too, am important and that if I want to continue to help others, I need to help myself first. I need to separate what’s mine from theirs. So, if you’re a compassion loving freak like myself, try these tips, and I promise you your world will change.
And don’t forget, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to love yourself enough to find it!
Xo Rosie Riott