Watch Out for Social Media
by Susie E. Caron © 3-15-15
Usually I write my "Between You & Me" articles with parent-child relationships in mind. I love to help you to understand your children better, so you can enjoy them more and gain their cooperation in daily life. However, today I need a break. It seems that the very thing I taught other health care workers to avoid is weighing on me. It’s called compassion fatigue and it came by way of social media.
Simply put compassion fatigue results when anyone (but especially those in the ‘helping roles’) are overcome by two factors:
1. Hearing about the problems, difficulties and trauma of others, which may result in secondary trauma.
2. Working really hard to help others who struggle, which may result in burn out.
Secondary trauma, and burn out, each have their own difficult symptoms. However, together their symptoms cause a double whammy. Here’s how it crept up on me.
First, I noticed that I could not watch tragic parts of the news. I also started feeling really sad. I felt tired a lot more than usual on my days off. However, I was sleeping well at night, so I didn’t suspect depression. I knew I couldn’t possibly ever have enough time and energy to do everything I wanted to do; like spend more time with my family, take on more clients in private practice, go shopping, write books, take day trips, and attend to social media. So I thought I was just really busy and had too much to do.
I tried to cut back on ‘non-essential’ activities. However, I began to find myself less and less motivated to do anything creative, like write that next book. Even when I’d wake up aware of a new topic, article or book, I dismissed it as ‘not that important.’ I caught myself thinking, “it just doesn’t matter” or “no one really cares.”
This morning, after putting it off for days, I needed to write a new blog article. However, no matter how hard I tried, I could not settle on the topic. I wondered, “What’s the matter with me?” As I lay in my bed thinking about this I began to realize, somewhat to my startled amusement, that I was showing signs of compassion fatigue. It was only funny to me because I have actually taught others how to recognize and avoid it. However, the evidence made it very clear. For the past few weeks I’d found myself saying, “I’m not really tired, I’m just tired of…” When my husband asked me, “Of what?” I’d say, “Oh, of just everything.” But I really had no idea what I actually meant. Until this morning.
As a caring psychotherapist, I recognize that what I do in private practice is to leave my clients' troubles in my office, every night. It’s something I’d learned very well to prevent secondary trauma. However, I’d become caught up in social media marketing after I wrote three picture books. That’s when and where I discovered a whole new population of wonderful people that I could help.
Over one year ago I began to share with you and others, through social media, my knowledge and understanding of children and parents. I love reaching out to you and to thousands of others - parents, teachers and counselors. My gift and my joy comes through restoring relationships between parents and their children, and I want to continue.
I'm not quitting. Instead, now that I recognize the problem, I have to do what I know to do to take really good care of me, so I can continue to share great information with you. First, I have to do with social media sharing what I learned so well to do when I leave my private practice every evening – I have to turn it off. I have to set time limits for my social media hours and stick to them. Then I have to take care of me. I have to go outside and play with my dog. I have to spend more fun times with my husband, and our grown up kids. I want to go out for coffee with friends, call my favorite Aunt and reconnect with friends from long ago. Relationships- in person relationships with myself and others, is the real key to happiness, contentment and health. Social media relationships have their place, but they do not fill the need we all have for the physical presence of flesh and blood people in our lives.
I love sharing with you and I will continue. However, I highly recommend that you do what I’m about to do, and set times for attending to social and stick to them. In between, spend time and attention on the people you love, those living with you, those next door and those who you enjoy. I desire for you to experience a world of happiness, contentment and health always in loving relationships.
Twee’ means you and me.
Susie E. Caron
Susie E. Caron MA,
Author, Blogger, Podcaster,
Christian, Wife, & Mother, helps build parent-child relationships, 1 blog, book & podcast at a time.
Welcome! I recently retired from combined careers in teaching, psychotherapy, and parent coaching to spend more time writing.
When I'm not busy creating books or articles, you might find me looking for dark chocolate or riding my beautiful horse Apple in the woods and fields of Vermont.
These articles are for educational and self-help purposes only and are not intended as psychotherapy.
If you experience unusual symptoms or discomfort please see your medical or mental health practitioner.
No patent liability is assumed for use of the information contained. The author disclaims any responsibility for loss or risk for use or application of this material.
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Blog Reviews & Thank You!
July 13 at 7:17pm ·
Just wanted to say that I love your posts about the different ways to connect/relate/understand your child. It has given me a new approach towards understanding my daughter and allowing HER to tell me how she feels instead of me suggesting to her how she should feel. Thanks Susie!