Do You Have Protection Fatigue Brought on by Trying to Keep Yourself Safe from the Virus?
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If the stress of the effort to keep yourself safe during the Coronavirus pandemic is starting to get to you, you may have protection fatigue (referred to on the Internet as #ProtectionFatigue). Put simply, protection fatigue is brought on by the stress of trying to keep yourself safe. The Internet Patrol is covering this phenomena because the label and recognition of “protection fatigue” started on the Internet, in fact with the hashtag #ProtectionFatigue.

Protection fatigue results from the stress of trying to keep yourself safe, resulting in either the stress wearing you down, or causing you to feel more indifferent or even reckless about keeping yourself safe. In these uncertain times of COVID-19, masks, gloves, hand-washing, and disinfecting, the longer one has to take these measures the more it can lead to protection fatigue.


This is particularly true for those who are in high risk categories, such as those with underlying medical conditions, and those who are considered older in terms of the Coronavirus. For those in these high risk groups, a trip out of the house, such as to the store, isn’t just a hassle because of having to wear a mask and gloves. For these at-risk people, such a trip can be extremely stressful, because a shopping trip could literally land them in the hospital, or dead.

While not officially recognized by the mental health community – yet – protection fatigue is not unlike compassion fatigue, which is officially recognized, except that compassion fatigue is brought on by the stress of trying to help others, and to keep others safe, while protection fatigue is brought on by the stress of trying to keep yourself safe.

Compassion fatigue is basically the emotional toll of constantly caring for others. As the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project explains, “Studies confirm that caregivers play host to a high level of compassion fatigue. Day in, day out, workers struggle to function in care giving environments that constantly present heart wrenching, emotional challenges. Affecting positive change in society, a mission so vital to those passionate about caring for others, is perceived as elusive, if not impossible. This painful reality, coupled with first-hand knowledge of society’s flagrant disregard for the safety and well being of the feeble and frail, takes its toll on everyone from full time employees to part time volunteers. Eventually, negative attitudes prevail.”

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Protection fatigue comes from individuals trying to provide that same level of care to themselves, and if the individual is among those who are “feeble and frail”, it is all the more stressful, especially if one is perceiving “society’s flagrant disregard for the safety and well being of the feeble and frail.”

What to Do if You are Suffering from Protection Fatigue

Because protection fatigue is not yet officially recognized, there aren’t protection fatigue-specific resources. However, the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project’s page on what to do if you are suffering from compassion fatigue is a very good place to start. They recommend:

• Be kind to yourself.
• Enhance your awareness with education.
• Accept where you are on your path at all times.
• Understand that those close to you may not be there when you need them most.
• Exchange information and feelings with people who can validate you.
• Listen to others who are suffering (from protection fatigue).
• Clarify your personal boundaries. What works for you; what doesn’t.
• Express your needs verbally.
• Take positive action to change your environment.

 

If it has started to feel overwhelming, you may want to consider talking with an online therapist or counseller. You can be matched up with an online therapist through the website OnlineCounselling.com

Also, if you are suffering from protection fatigue, please feel free to share your experiences here in a comment.

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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Do You Have Protection Fatigue Brought on by Trying to Keep Yourself Safe from the Virus?
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Do You Have Protection Fatigue Brought on by Trying to Keep Yourself Safe from the Virus?
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If the effort to keep yourself safe when going out of the house during the pandemic is getting to you, you may suffer from protection fatigue.

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