Compassion (Fatigue) in the Land of So Much Suffering Pt. 2
The Widespread Abuse and Traumatization of Children in the United States Stops Here.
As clients, a little part of us can escape our pain when we think of our therapist as someone who has only just come down off some mountain’s vipassana retreat, mala beads still wrapped around sun-kissed, never-sore arm. Even visibly sweating as a therapist can shatter this illusion. But beyond escape, might we—therapists and clients alike—reach something more like healing if we could both be people, striving in a world we have not escaped, where suffering, pain, bills, and trauma still deeply affect us?
When we wellness professionals internalize this archetype of the escaped healer, we come into conflict with the reality of the world, and we set ourselves up for compassion fatigue because we may begin to believe our capacity to do without more than superficial care for ourselves is what qualifies us to help others.
More Than Just Sickness Care: What Chronically Ill Americans Like Me Fight For
It is not enough for us to simply stop separating families, stop dehumanizing other people, and stop shuffling their children into a system of widespread sexual assault if not outright trafficking—as important as ending each of those things is. We owe it to these people we have injured to care for the physical and psychological wounds we have inflicted.
We owe it to ourselves, to our own children, and to future generations of global citizens to acknowledge the reality of this situation, to acknowledge what our bigotry, willful ignorance, and civic passivity have permitted, and to educate one another on the processes that led us here so that we may better avoid them in the future. We owe it to every child in the world to take responsibility for our contributions to the society where they grow up.
I'm Still Disabled (And I'm Okay With That)
To say it’s refreshing to hear Marianne acknowledge the integrative nature of health and the interconnectivity of public conditions which sicken and disable many of us is an understatement. No one I’ve so far encountered in the medical establishment wants to hear this stuff. And no other politician or non-disabled activist group seems to want to go that deep with us. Whether you’re on board with her campaign or not, Marianne Williamson has raised the bar. This conversation is no longer ending at what kind of healthcare plans candidates are pledging to fight for. We’re no longer stopping at what meds individuals can access or how we personally relate to our bodies. We’re talking about environmental, nutritional, and economic conditions now too.
Compassion (Fatigue) in the Land of So Much Suffering Pt. 1
My diabetes diagnosis hit me like a bag of bricks. It followed months of increasingly terrifying panic attacks coming on any time I ate or drank. I thought I was dying. I left notes to family members and friends in case I didn’t make it through the night. I was terrified of laying down to try and sleep because I was convinced it’d be the absolute death of me.
Facing Ecological Grief Together
Compassion fatigue is hitting my entire generation and all the folks younger than us, even when we aren’t directly engaged in a traditional sense with trauma work. I don’t know any of us who aren’t engaged in healing the trauma of ourselves and the marginalized communities we relate to. I don’t know any of us who aren’t in constant shock at the world our parents and grandparents daily find new ways to pillage and burn. We might not be firefighters or nurses, we might ‘just be’ writers or ‘keyboard warriors’, but we fucking feel it. To be attuned to the state of this world is to be aware of crisis at all times, to intimately bear witness to so much suffering, and to find yourself struggling to stay afloat amidst it.
The catastrophe colloquially called ‘climate change’ is matched in immensity by the breadth of human emotional responses to it. From denial to numbness to anger and everything else, we are intimately feeling our planet’s health. But the more I write about this, the more I realize that identifying the problem isn’t really the answer we need most right now.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s a definite time to write educational pieces, alarming pieces, and articles that confront the scale of our situation to keep us humble, informed, and ready to take action. But that’s the key: don’t we need to spend this precious time doing something about our environmental problems, rather than just talking about them?