July 31, 2022 at 5:38 pm #404851
I would like to consult the participants of the forum, that live in harsh places. Places, where you have to face terrible sights and situations every day, things that tear you apart, and still continue functioning. Do you manage to do it? And if so, how?
To me, everyday life is a struggle. Getting out of the house, driving, just walking the streets comes along with paralyzing fear of seeing another terrible incident. That’s because every incident like this drives me into action of helping. I helped a lot to the point of exhaustion, mental and physical. The only thing left is excruciating fatigue. My once athletic body is now falling apart. Sleeping one full night without helping others or hearing about another disaster seems like a dream. My entire life ranges between high stress and then relief and so on. There is no joy, happiness or even time for leisure. My eyes are tired from seeing the horrors and ears from hearing the cries for help.
How do you manage to survive the mental and physical stress of living in a harsh environment without exhausting yourself or loosing your mind?July 31, 2022 at 7:38 pm #404857AnonymousGuest
I am sorry that you are living in a harsh environment. I would very much like to reply to you further, but I need to know a bit more before I do: can you share a bit about what kind harsh environment you are referring to: is it a matter of natural disaster, climate related extreme weather, hunger, crime, war… what is it?
anitaJuly 31, 2022 at 10:47 pm #404862HelcatParticipant
I don’t think people in general cope very well in harsh environments. It can certainly lead to a level of trauma. Is it possible for you to plan to leave that environment?
For me, planning to leave a harsh environment was helpful. It gave me hope that one day things would be easier.
On the other hand, sometimes it takes time. I’ve had various approaches for different situations.
If a person is behaving poorly, I reduce my anxiety by understanding that individual has maladaptive coping skills. This helps me see that behaviour is unrelated to me, so I don’t need to feel bad about how someone else is reacting. In the the past, people have done things that made me feel angry and disrespected. To process and manage these feelings I consider what is within my control? Sometimes people are unwilling or incapable of change. But I am responsible for how I perceive and feel about a situation. Considering, how do I want to emotionally respond to a situation? Can be helpful for me.
Your situation sounds very challenging. It is okay to say no sometimes, especially when you are tired. It is just as important to help yourself, as it is others. If you are giving all of the time, soon you will have nothing left. People don’t always like it when you develop boundaries and say “Sorry, not today. I need a break.”. But it’s okay for them not to like it. People can feel something about anything. It’s not your responsibility to manage everyone else’s emotions, just yourown.
I don’t know if any of this is relevant to your situation. But I wish you good luck in getting through this challenging period. If you have the funds and opportunity a therapist can be helpful.August 1, 2022 at 3:05 am #404866
Thank you for sharing your coping mechanism and your experience. Sounds like you were surrounded by pretty difficult individuals and it’s very good that you helped yourself.
Yes, since there is nothing I can do to change the situation in my country, leaving is indeed one of the options, but it might take time if at all, taking into account that many factors hold me back here.
I already limited my exposure to social media just not to get involved in new incidents but things just tend to find me.August 1, 2022 at 7:40 am #404868AnonymousGuest
“I helped a lot to the point of exhaustion, mental and physical“- thank you for helping people, for helping a lot!
“I would like to consult the participants of the forum, that live in harsh places. Places, where you have to face terrible sights and situations every day, things that tear you apart, and still continue functioning. Do you manage to do it? And if so, how?… How do you manage to survive the mental and physical stress of living in a harsh environment without exhausting yourself or losing your mind?“-
– one group of extremely harsh places were the Nazi Concentration Camps during World War 2. Viktor Frankl wrote a book titled Man’s Search for Meaning (1946), in which he shared about his experiences as a prisoner in the concentration camps. In his book, he concludes that life never ceases to have a meaning, and that the meaning of life is found in every moment of living, that there is always a freedom of choice, even in severe suffering.
He also concluded that there are only two races of people: decent and indecent, that no society is free of either of them, and thus there were decent Nazi guards and indecent prisoners, most notably the Kapo who would torture and abuse their fellow prisoners for personal gain.
Quotes from the book: “Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning. The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her life”.
“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how'”.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way”.
“Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become the next moment”.
““For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment”.
“In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning”.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”.
“It is not freedom from conditions, but it is freedom to take a stand toward the conditions”.
“For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best”.
anitaAugust 7, 2022 at 10:18 am #405100
Thank you Anita, for the interesting quotes and examples. Indeed, we often have to adjust ourselves to a given situation, to some kind of reality that we cannot change.
The hardest part as I see it, is watching others (humans or animals) get hurt and suffer and just walk away because you are too exhausted to help. Laying in a cozy room knowing it is out there sometimes minutes away from your home.August 7, 2022 at 10:46 am #405103AnonymousGuest
You are welcome. Reading your recent post, the serenity prayer came to my mind: “god, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.
I don’t think that you can change becoming “too exhausted to help” and needing to rest in a cozy room so to regain energy lost. I therefore wish that you accept and be at peace with your natural need to rest when exhausted.
anitaAugust 13, 2022 at 12:37 pm #405412RobertaParticipant
Many people get compassion fatigue or burn out, even if they do not live in “harsh conditions”. My friend & I having being talking about this as part of a mini loving kindness retreat. Often we put all others before ourselves instead of giving ourselves the same compassion that we give to so many others. If a doctor said you need to rest would you & those around you listen? Why do we wait until some external authority gives us permission? Taking care of yourself is just as important as looking after others. You have to nourish yourself and it is not selfish, in fact it is a wise and compassionate action not only for you but in the long run others will benefit.
I hope you find the help & support, so you grow stronger.