Compassion Fatigue: A Short Story

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I wish a Mack truck would hit me on the way work today” my friend Beth said frequently. I met Beth in 1989 and I had never seen her so low in all the years we were friends. Would she be herself again? What if she never recovered her once positive attitude? How could I help her? I was uncomfortable with who she had become. It made me nervous to be around her. I didn’t know what to say to help her. I missed the Beth I knew the one that was fun to be with. Papa Jim was ill, his mind and body were failing him. He needed a lot of care and patience. Beth was going through a divorce. Jay, her brother, had to have frequent dialysis treatments. Her only child had graduated high school and left home. Jay took his own life to avoid the suffering of his…show more content…
Beth’s world was completely falling apart. She was exhausted both physically and mentally. She begged for God to end her suffering and depression. It was difficult as her friend to witness her personality disappear before all of us who loved her. In Chapter seven of our book Burnout and Compassion Fatigue it discusses the symptoms of compassion fatigue which I witnessed in Beth; anger, sadness, grief, anxiety, depression, physical fatigue, and irritability just to name a few. She had been caring for her dad prior to her marital break up. Her brother, Jay, suffered for a long time with dialysis treatments and Beth listened to him and consoled him through it all. Her marriage was falling apart to spite her efforts at couples counseling. She had so much of herself invested in the people she cared for and loved. Her brother committed suicide by shooting himself while in his home just across
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