5 Women Speak Of How Their Constant Compassion During The Pandemic Can Cause Burn Out

With everything that’s happening in 2020, all of us are bound to feel compassion fatigue. These 5 women tell us how they deal with it!

It’s been six months and we’re still under lockdown due to COVID-19. Add to this, our own unique set of challenges and the constant stream of negative news that is bombarding our senses nonstop. A lot of us are bound to feel compassion fatigue or the feeling of ‘meh’ where news is losing its ability to shock or hurt us as intensely as before.

When we suffer from compassion fatigue, we generally feel physically or mentally exhausted. This leads to a decline in our abilities to empathise or feel compassion for others. It is also known as the negative cost of caring.

In this interview, I speak to five women who share their unique experiences during COVID and about witnessing compassion fatigue within and around them. They also speak about the ways they’re dealing with their struggles and rising to tackle this difficult period. These stories of a doctor, a doctor’s spouse, a psychiatrist, a working woman, and a recovered COVID patient are bound to motivate and inspire you.

Shalini Mullick

Specialist (Pathology) at the National Instt. Of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases

“Why aren’t the pain and the uncertainty bringing us together?”

As a doctor, I see economically disadvantaged patients at our hospital often disregarding social distancing norms and wearing their masks incorrectly. I tend to dismiss this as a result of ignorance and education.

Then I see educated people in markets, in our neighbourhood, doing similar things. And I wonder if they feel that they have become immune to the possibility of contracting the disease.

“It is a disease like any other,” I hear them say. Perhaps, but this is a disease that they can take home, infect the vulnerable among them. They shrug, “Whatever has to happen will happen. Kitna number dekhenge TV par?”

Not sure if this is compassion fatigue, the apathy of the average Indian, or the fatalistic attitude in us reinforced for generations? But whatever it is, as a doctor, it hurts that people don’t realize the risks being faced by frontline workers every day during the pandemic.

So many doctors and other healthcare workers have lost their lives caring for patients. So many elderly people have suffered by being infected by healthy youth who didn’t take appropriate precautions.

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