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Vicarious Trauma: When you Experience Too Much…

I just read my previous post, it’s heavy and it feels like a million years ago because SO MUCH HAS CHANGED!

Basically a few hours after I wrote it, with the world on my shoulders, I had a long overdue chat with my coach and discovered the concept of “vicarious trauma”.

As soon as I heard of it, a whole lot of stuff started to make sense.

If you are new to the story, John and I have been travelling the world filming people who make a difference for the last 3.5 years. What this means is that for 3.5 years we have been exposed the some of the awful social problems that people are having to overcome.

Like extreme poverty, violence, hunger, slavery, crime, animal cruelty, and the impacts that a lack of social support, opportunities, rights and education brings.

Each time we visit a new project we immerse ourselves in their stories so that we can do the best job we can of telling them in our documentaries.

What has been happening, is that I have been collecting all of these stories and they have been filling me with up with a feeling of helplessness.

For the last year I could feel my motivation dwindling, I have had this feeling that I just can’t write and I find every new cause that pops up just adds more overwhelm to my already helpless self.

I get now that I was actually experiencing each situation in some way and if I hadn’t found a way to unload all of the sadness I would have actually burned out eventually.

That would be very uncool!

Since this revelation – I have got back into action and have been writing, creating and LAUNCHING our kids club. It’s like night and day, like I have wiped my compassion slate clean, ready for the next heartbreaking cause.

To manage the possibility of vicarious trauma long term, I have arranged to talk with my coach on a regular basis to debrief. Suddenly I am empowered and in action.

This week we launched THE TRAVEL KIDS CLUB – I have a feeling that everything in my life has been leading up to this project. We aim to inspire a generation of kids that their choices are important and that they can make a difference.

Get them young!!

I am going to talk more about that very soon, but if you want to be some of the very first members here is the link. please share it around and subscribe all the amazing kids in your life!

If you like it, please share it!

Speak your lovely mind!

  1. So true, isn’t it? I’ve experienced that before too, when you just take so much on and then you wonder why you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. And like you said, the worst part is that you feel like you’ve lost your mojo and have no drive left! So important to keep a healthy balance and offload occasionally too. And I love the concept of Travel Kids Club. It’s so awesome.

  2. I had never heard of this term, but I can definitely relate! It’s hard not to take on problems in the world. I’m glad you have been able to unload somewhat and are able to write and do great work again. It can be hard to find a balance between caring but also realising that you can’t take it all on. I’m glad you have found it again and are working on such a great cause!

  3. I’ve never heard of the term either, but I suffer from it too :(…sometimes the world feels so overwhelming, and I want to help so many, and just can’t. All we can each do is make sure we stay strong ourselves (we’re no use to anyone if we’re not), and just do what we can. Something small and positive is still a step in the right direction!
    Paula Johnson recently posted..Motivational Astrology Forecast – December 2015My Profile

    • Hey Paula,
      For sure the little things can really add up. I think it also helps to be part of other peoples projects and causes, it’s nice to be part of a big picture than someone else is driving too.
      Keep up the good fight!!

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