wings and things

Unloneliness, empathy and fatigue

on June 30, 2017

Yesterday’s post about loneliness was, I realise now, not just about me. I had been to a carer support meeting in the morning, then to see Anthony at noon, then to visit some residents at a different nursing home in the afternoon. After I got home in the early evening, I messaged a couple of friends whose loved ones are in care.

In terms of volunteering, it was a great day but I guess I must have absorbed a little too much of other people’s loneliness (in the context of Dementia). The sore throat that I was trying to ignore did a little crescendo thing, reminding me to rest up.

The various talks at the conference gave me some insight into the concepts, and practicalities, of, for instance, empathy. Somebody used the phrase, ’empathy fatigue’ and I thought aha – so that’s why I keep getting sick.

However, when I looked this phrase up, I learned that empathy fatigue happens to people whose empathy resources have dried up due to fatigue. Oh! I guess I got that wrong because my empathy is still on full alert, but my fatigue is extreme.

The responses to my post about loneliness are a reminder to me that I am not alone in my situation. I am so grateful for this support because it helps me to support other people dealing with the grief and loss associated with Dementia.

Unlonely x


9 responses to “Unloneliness, empathy and fatigue

  1. Take care of you, Julie! ā¤
    Diana xo

  2. The stress that comes with empathy can cause fatigue. You don’t need that definition to validate your ah-ha moment. Plus all the other stressors in your life, even if you’re in “good emotional shape” adds up and can take its toll on the adrenal glands = adrenal fatigue/overload. ‘nuf of my medical mouthing off. I just wanted to say I read what you wrote but took a long way getting to it. šŸ˜‰ Sending you love and special cyber hugs. You’ve found a way into my cyber heart and I hope you have a good weekend. ā¤

  3. A couple of interesting little reads..

  4. strangely enough, when I did a lot of massage therapy, there were people who drained me of energy. I used to call them leeches , in my head you understand but they could suck me dry if I wasn’t careful. So I am sure that this must be the same for you. Some people take all we have to give but never let the energy out.

  5. susanpoozan says:

    Feeling better, I hope that sore throat quickly disappears. I admire you tremendously for all you do to help others. Don’t forget you too will need support if you are to continue.

  6. My empathy can wear me out if I am not taking care of myself.

  7. tootlepedal says:

    A little fatigue is entirely permissible….in fact a lot of fatigue is. I hope that you can get some rest both mental and physical.

  8. Vicki says:

    Loneliness means different things to different people.

    You can be in a room full of people and still feel alone. I, personally, lead a solitary life but am rarely lonely. I live in an urban environment which makes me feel ‘connected’. And I can have the peace and quiet I need to rest and take care of me (with chronic ill health and pain) at home or, I can talk and interact with the passersby I see outdoors.

    Carers and loved ones of people with chronic or terminal illness (of any kind) need people in similar situations for support and understanding (of what they’re going through). In general, I don’t think the extended family comprehend the stress and emotional seesaw that the immediate family go through. I’m talking about you & Ming being Anthony’s immediate family. They see only a small fragment of your life slotted in to their own ‘normal’ life.

    You (and Ming) always have the stress of ‘not knowing’. Not knowing how your loved one will be tomorrow. Not knowing if your loved one will be there tomorrow. And not knowing how your loved one will react/cope if something happened to you.

    Out in the country where you live, Julie, no one sees the lost hours when you are home alone and wondering. Thinking. Worrying. The ‘what ifs’ must run riot at times, poking, prodding, stealing your rest. For it’s rest and quiet times you need to replenish your emotional storehouse. Fun and laughter are also needed to recoup the joy and freedom of your early married life. Kindred spirits and close friends need to be near (by physical presence, phone, computer or whatever is your way of connecting, living out in the country as you do).

    Balance is the key.

  9. I so liked this post it made me feel happier about your life

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