While you are helping the trauma victim take a short break, spend some time alone or with others, and have healthy snacks or a beverage or a meal.
Talk with others about your experience, the good and the bad, and how you felt while you helped the other person who experienced the trauma.
Don't spend every minute with the person. Have someone spell you. It will break the cycle.
Gather your thoughts and remember to call your loved ones and let them know how it's going. It will give your mind a rest and reassure them that you are okay.
Ask them for help if you need to, for when you arrive back at home. Let them know if you want to talk or don't want to talk about it.
Tips and Warnings
"Compassion" or "indirect trauma fatigue" disorders can be debilitating in many ways such as personal relationships suffering, and a decline in physical, emotional and mental health.
When you listen to the psychological trauma of the frightening stories of fear, pain, suffering, and other horrible happenings, you may feel those same things intensely, as though they happened to you.
You may see them so visually, and feel them, that you lose your sense of well-being, your sense of self, even lose your equilibrium in life such as it begins to affect everyone around you. It is the cost of emotionally caring about the person who actually lived through the horrifying events.
Compassion fatigue is not burnout. Burnout is caused by stress and hassles involved with a job. It can be helped by a change of careers or a vacation while a person destresses. Even a person who loves their job can suffer burnout.
"Compassion" or "indirect trauma fatigue" disorder is the residue of being exposed to working with suffering and pain. Many times this anxiety is added on top of a dissatisfaction of the job and the situation slides off the scale and over the cliff into a catastrophe for the caregiver.
An individual who is experiencing this may be in a state of tension and it may manifest in one or more ways including re-experiencing the traumatic event over and over even thought it did not happen to them, avoidance/numbing of reminders of the event, and even a persistant arousal.
It is similiar to critical incident stress in which the person is traumatized by it actually happening to them.
It is different in that the caregiver is reliving the traumatic event through someone else's eyes.
How to protect yourself from "compassion or indirect trauma fatigue":