Compassion Fatigue in the 24 Hour News Cycle
I feel like every day I learn about another new tragedy in the world. Often, it’s horribly sad, wrong, and immoral that this is happening, but it happens anyway. The mainstream news channels will cover this incident within the 24-hour news cycle or until something else comes along. Ultimately, we will forget and move on with our lives.
I want to feel anger, outrage, and anguish for all these horrible things, but I don’t think I can or am capable doing such a thing anymore. I think I have what they call “compassion fatigue”.
Compassion fatigue is characterized by emotional and physical exhaustion leading to diminished ability to empathize or feel compassion for others. It is also referred to as a secondary stress reaction.
I feel that I have stretched myself too thin. Feeling constantly exposed to human tragedy is tiring, especially when I cannot do anything to make it better. It makes you feel useless. As much as I want to learn and stay aware of what is going on in the world, I have learned to limit the amount of time I spend scrolling or watching the news. If I feel strongly about an issue, I try to do a call to action, such as signing a petition, donating, or volunteering with a non-profit relating to the issue. This at least makes me feel I am play small part in making the world a better place.
Have you heard or experienced compassion fatigue before? What are some ways that help you prevent compassion fatigue?