I read an article today, by Lindsay Tigar, I want to share.
It was about this major shift in my mind where I just don’t care at all about the struggles of others. I’m so emotionally tired, even though I’m not physically tired. I can’t pretend to care, which is always hard for me, but today I CAN’T.
It was scary, because I was at my normal level, maybe 38% or at best 68%, but today 0%… It was scary, because it was like a light switch going out. I was one way, then I didn’t down spiral, I snapped.
I have been feeling like I don’t have enough support for my kids, husband and extended family for a long time, since last March at least… but now it’s worse, a whole level worse.
On the outside it doesn’t look much different, I did music lessons for my son, I always shower, I took both kids out to play, I cuddled my daughter, it wouldn’t look so wrong from the outside, but from the inside it’s terrifying to know the cupboard is now empty, I’m not being grumpy or worried it will be, it is already empty.
I’ve never felt like this before, so I was worried about what it was.
I read an article that called it “compassion fatigue” and it helped me to have a name for it, know it is “normal” and know it’s probably not permanent.
2. You don’t feel compassion for others.
You used to have empathy for the colleague who always arrived late to Zooms because they were juggling a toddler and school-aged kid while working. Or, you may have gone easy on the recent hire who needed everything explained to them not once, not twice, but three times. But now that you’re eight months (and counting) into a state of lockdown, your emotional tolerance could be waning. According to licensed marriage and family therapist Laura Rhodes-Levin, this is a key signifier of mental fatigue, since meeting the needs of others requires forethought, energy, and consideration.
When you don’t have enough motivation to do routine tasks, giving extra to those around you is all but impossible. “Compassion fatigue is the sense that you just don’t care enough to make this much-needed exchange,” she says. “Sometimes it feels like you are zoned out completely and feel numb and disconnected.” This doesn’t make you a bad person. It just signals that perhaps you need more self-care periods within your week.– Lindsay Tigar It’s not that you don’t care. It’s that you’re mentally exhausted
One thing that is scary is that it’s energizing to not give a damn about anyone else. If I don’t care 2,000+ people died today it’s a lot easier to get the floors cleaned today, and they look great!
I did care, I felt bad for each family loosing someone, the ill (like my aunt), and suddenly I don’t care.
People thought I didn’t care because I didn’t fear getting sick, that’s two different things completely. I did care. But I don’t. The part of me that did care basically got broken. Someday I’m sure I’ll care, but it’s been 3 or 4 days and a good night’s sleep didn’t fix it and I don’t know if I will care again. Because caring doesn’t help much, it drains me and it saves no one, so why even care and be exhausted by it?
I also stopped drinking coffee and eating oatmeal so that in 2021 my life will be a little different than in 2020. Now I eat potatoes and drink black, green and lavender tea. I really needed 2021 to be different… because I could feel myself at the breaking point mentally.
Until I went past that.
It took three traumatic incidents with my daughter, two with my dad and a small argument over white lies, I think that small argument was the final straw and I went off on my dad for the first time in my life, over everything. I felt better, he felt worse, I felt intellectually guilty, but honestly justified. Lies are easier often, but you pay for that someday, it comes back more often than not.
People can apologize when something is over, that doesn’t repair the damage in and of itself, a good start and a bad finish.
All the messes in 2020 got left as is to be dealt with “when the pandemic is over” my mind didn’t make it that far. Christmas made things worse for me as always.
It’s scary not caring, because I don’t look different, but I DON’T CARE. So all the people I thought cared about me in my life, maybe they did, and maybe they didn’t. It’s hard to know.
But it doesn’t feel like enlightenment, it feels like I’m a psychopath who could wipe out a small nation to raise my internet loading time to read my ebooks with less delay. It feels both wrong and good. It feels like I can breathe again, like I can dance again, even upon the graves of others.
I’m so much less tired. I feel vigorous, but then when my kids cry, I hate them. And I didn’t before. I didn’t hate my kids for crying. I’m not hitting them, I’m tending them, but I do not empathize with their pain, I want them to grow the fuck and shut the fuck up. My kids have been so needy.
So it’s like okay the world is all fucked up, have to deal with that, then my husband has extreme political views and I don’t, so have to deal with that… then I have to explain to my kid why the world is noticeably all fucked up and also seems pretty conflicted in general. I was trying to be nice, trying to make it seem very okay, but it’s not super okay, it’s very almost not okay. It’s like a powder keg, nothing too not okay has happened, but it feels like it’s about to like the end of a Dragon Ball Z episode, every single episode feels like almost a fight will start, but then it doesn’t, but it feels like “any time now”…
Day by day the stress slowly broke my mind until it was broken in the compassion department at least, it worried me, but having a name for it made it seem much more “fine”.
So… I hope someone else suffering from compassion fatigue will feel better about being human or maybe other readers will just know why some workers are so much less nice than normal.