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Guilt, compassion fatigue and self-care

Published On: 20 November 2018Categories: Regional
Carers Queensland’s Counselling program offers brief intervention and emotional support in the Darling Downs region to unpaid carers.

My name is Megan Edwards and I am the new carers’ Counsellor with Carers Queensland Darling Downs.

Carers Queensland’s Counselling program can be delivered in a variety of ways including face to face, via telephone, email, skype and group sessions. Rural outreach clinics can also be arranged for people within the Warwick, Stanthorpe, Dalby and Chinchilla regions.

Counselling can help carers to understand and manage overwhelming feelings and emotions, work on the needs of a carer and to assist in managing conflict, stress and other emotional factors that can make caring more difficult. Some common concerns that we have identified in the Darling Downs region are in the area of guilt in the caring role, compassion fatigue and self-care.

What guilt can do to you:

  • make you become over responsible – “Striving to make life right”
  • make you over-conscientious
  • make you over sensitive
  • immobilise you
  • interfere with your decision making

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. Most people who experience this fatigue are empathetic people who care for most of their lives at one time or another. People who suffer from compassion fatigue are usually in caring roles or community based service roles where they are caring for others regularly (http://www.compassionfatigue.org/).

Self-care

Self-care is an essential part of being a carer. Without self-care you may suffer from ill health, mental health concerns and stress related to the caring role. Self-care refers to activities undertaken with the intention of enhancing energy, restoring health and reducing stress. There are many ways to do this and self-care is something that can be personalised for every individual. Self-care looks at the maintenance of well-being and personal health to promote your overall health.

While caring can be rewarding, it can also be stressful. If you find that, you are struggling in your caring role and if you would like further support, you can contact the Toowoomba office on 07 4646 2899.

Megan Edwards
Counsellor – Darling Downs