Could Doing Good Be Doing You Harm?
Charity work, volunteering, and supporting nonprofit organizations is considered a healthy, productive, healing part of life. Despite the various traumas and stressors we have to endure in our lives, we are considerably lucky. Most of us in the modern world have food, shelter, water, a semblance of health, and live relatively safe lives. Not all of our human kind is so lucky. There are, without a doubt, those who are less fortunate than we are. Some feel it is part of their duty to spend time giving back, supporting others, and helping those less fortunate than they in whatever way possible. Giving back feels good and does good for those who need some do-gooding in their lives.
However, being exposed to the more difficult sides of human experience can take a toll on our lives. Doing charity work of any kind impacts us greatly. We may find ourselves humbled, grateful, and shocked by what we learn of the world. If we are prone to the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, the shock of what we see could negatively impact our mental health, as well as our physical health. Due to secondary traumatic stress, we may even develop PTSD.
Trauma does not have to happen to us directly. Too often, the symptoms of trauma are discounted when charity work is involved because the people doing the good aren’t living through the bad of which they are trying to alleviate for others. Being exposed to a standard of living which is so far beyond our control, in which people are experiencing severe trauma, can be traumatizing in and of itself.
Secondary traumatic stress occurs when we bear witness to traumatizing events through a second hand part, whether by hearing it, seeing it, or experiences the after effects of someone else’s trauma first hand. Sometimes called compassion fatigue, we become mentally and physically exhausted by the energy of someone else’s trauma. We don’t care too much or act codependently. We feel for the plight of our fellow man and we empathize deeply with the struggles they face. Taking care of ourselves by taking care of others still has to include taking care of ourselves through self-care. Most of us will move on from secondary traumatic stress quickly. If we have traumas of our own which have not been resolved, we may end up projecting our need for healing onto others. We all deserve our time for healing.
The time to heal is now. Stop the cycle of merry-go-round treatment and find the solution you’re looking for in trauma treatment. Through effective residential treatment, Khiron House helps you find the path you need toward health and wellness in recovery. For information, call us today. UK: 020 3811 2575 (24 hours). USA: (866) 801 6184 (24 hours).