Restless Genital Syndrome and Compassion Fatigue

Distress via shutterstock.com

Distress via shutterstock.com

YES, Sweetheart, There really IS a Restless Genital Syndrome

www.restlessgenitalsyndrome.com

This website is about the symptoms and treatment of Restless Genital Syndrome (RGS), previously known as Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome (PSAS)

It’s an eye opener all right.  Robin Williams Talks About Drugs provides a compassionately inspired comedic riff on Restless Leg Syndrome, a close relative of Restless Genitals, as only Robin can.
I’ve yet to meet a person with RGS, professionally anyway.  Socially, I have my suspicions.
Be that as it may, I’ve been itching to find a place for Restless Genital Syndrome for over a year. I thought it could be part of a piece listing the new/old illnesses, diseases, and syndromes that keep popping up, naturally followed by the new/old treatments, pharmaceuticals, and other interventions to treat them.  It was too depressing.
Instead it’s here.  Kind of like Donald Drumph, funny enough to laugh at until we see the seriousness of the root causes and their consequences.
Compassion and Fatigue linked make no sense to me.  They exist in different realms, or at least should; kind of like Drumph and President.
It feels like a cheap trick capitalizing on the already generous hearts’ fear of losing their compassion, something important to us.

The Serious Side of Words That Don’t Belong Together

Unexpectedly, a colleague confessed that she was suffering from Compassion Fatigue. Also unexpectedly, rather than mindfully inviting her to say more, I told her I’d get back to her about it.

I remembered the words from the years worked within the helping professions, as a practitioner and as a consultant. I felt conflicted because, if was remembering correctly, ‘compassion fatigue’ held no credence for me.  I remember experiencing many of the symptoms associated with  Compassion Fatigue.

  • Excessive blaming
  • Bottled up emotions
  • Isolation from others
  • Receives unusual amount of complaints from others
  • Voices excessive complaints about administrative functions
  • Substance abuse used to mask feelings
  • Compulsive behaviors such as overspending, overeating, gambling, sexual addictions
  • Poor self-care (i.e., hygiene, appearance)
  • Legal problems, indebtedness
  • Re-occurrence of nightmares and flashbacks to traumatic event
  • Chronic physical ailments such as gastrointestinal problems and recurrent colds
  • Apathy, sad, no longer finds activities pleasurable, absenteeism from work
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mentally and physically tired
  • Preoccupied
  • In denial about problems

I called it Too Much Stress or Being Out Of Balance.

Above and below from:  www.compassionfatigue.org/

Compassion Fatigue is a state experienced by those helping people or animals in distress; it is an extreme state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it can create a secondary traumatic stress for the helper.” Dr. Charles Figley.

Compassion Fatigue symptoms are normal displays of chronic stress … people who are attracted to care giving often enter the field already compassion fatigued. 
Compassion fatigue, also known as secondary traumatic stress (STS), is a condition characterized by a gradual lessening of compassion over time.

The Curmudgeon In Me Is Coming Out

I don’t believe that practicing compassion is fatiguing.  “While cynics may dismiss compassion as touchy-feely or irrational, scientists have started to map the biological basis of compassion, suggesting its deep evolutionary purpose. This research has shown that when we feel compassion, our heart rate slows down, we secrete the “bonding hormone” oxytocin, and regions of the brain linked to empathy, caregiving, and feelings of pleasure light up, which often results in our wanting to approach and care for other people.”

Also, from the definition above, Compassion Fatigue is characterized by a gradual lessening of compassion over time.  This sounds like a horrible thing!  But, another way to hear it may be that compassion is a very durable activity and emotion, only lessening gradually during chronic stress.

If we’re already mentally and physically tired, preoccupied, abusing substances, not keeping ourselves clean and still have a shred of kindness in us then kindness must be deeply rooted and durable.

If we’re earning an income on 4-5 hours of sleep/night because there are mouths to feed and we’re not kicking the dog on our way out the door then love and caring is still alive and durable.

 

Deal With The Stress:  Minimal, Optimal, and Peak Performanceexhausted 1

We all need stress. Stress makes us stronger, more resilient. Not enough stress and we get flabby and weak. Too much and we start to break down. Peak Performance, or experience, requires a lot of stress for a short time.  We perform minimally when there’s too much stress over a long time, aka chronic stress.  We self-destruct when there’s too much or too little and, or, we feel powerless to change it.  Ideally, we would all have, all the time, just the right balance between stress and rejuvenation.  This is nothing new.

Neither is the knowledge that we are extremely adaptable anything new.  We adapt so well that, after a while, we’ve adapted to being out-of-balance-and-miserable and not knowing we’re out of balance.  We’ve become comfortable enough in our miserableness that the thought of changing anything never enters our minds.  Things are good enough.  And that’s why intentional change is so challenging.

There’s Nothing Simple About It

Personal Change, Organizational Change, even Social Change and Revolution theories and models abound. All excellent.  My favorite consists of 4 variables:  One’s Discomfort, One’s Vision, One’s Knowledge of Possible First Steps, and One’s Resistance to Change.  The Formula for Change is:

Discomfort  X  Vision  X  Knowledge of First Steps

Must Be Greater Than

One’s Resistance To Change

It doesn’t matter whether you’re comfortable or uncomfortable, the math still works.  Put a zero in someplace and see what happens.

I have found this a very helpful tool when dealing with the effects of unhealthy stress and with finding the leverage points that begin changing the formula total.

It’s too important to take too lightly.  We’re too important to take too lightly.

P.S.  feels a little light on the light-hearted today.  Take care.  Visit our Facebook Page. If that’s too depressing visit Gratefulness.org (anytime).

P.P.S. I don’t take credit for the above formula. I have tried to find the original reference and failed. All credit to the author, and thanks.