Do you ever wonder if your friends will tire of your problems and give up on you?
I didn't know it had a name, but it does. It's called 'compassion fatigue'. One of the ladies who was here in hospital with me before she was discharged over a week ago, brought it up during one of our group sessions. It's something that the carers of depressed people may be prone to.
Sometimes I worry that my friends may suffer from compassion fatigue as my struggle goes on. While they have been an absolutely fantastic support so far, it's not easy giving and giving to someone who can't give much in return. I've been guilty of having compassion fatigue with some friends. I start off determined to be alongside them every step of the way, but as their battles go on, I become weary. I realise I signed up for a marathon, not a sprint. It's hard to keep being there for someone who is always sad. It's hard to keep listening to someone who is obsessing over the same guy years after he told her he wasn't interested in her romantically. It's hard dealing with broken people in a broken world, being a broken person yourself, and fighting the urge to just shout, "Oh, get over it!"
I don't want to suffer from compassion fatigue, nor do I want others to give up on me. When I lose patience with friends for not taking steps forward in my time, I'm reminded that they are people, not projects. Things happen in God's time and not mine. I can't fix them, but I can be there for them.
To all the friends who've stood by me...thank you! Thank you for labouring on day by day in supporting me, even when I can't offer much in return.