Who’s Your Buddy? (From Janet)
So many caring people are working hard every day to make a difference in the lives of animals.
And anyone involved in Animal Advocacy knows that it can be both wonderful and painful at the same time.
The wonderful part can be wonderful. And the painful part – sometimes it’s too painful to bear. We relive the pain in our thoughts, we dream about it at night, we are consumed by it in between everything else going on – we feel it.
Compassion fatigue is real, and can take an impacting toll.
And although not regularly talked about, depression and the suicide rate in the Animal Welfare community is prevalent, and higher than one would think.
There is no shame in needing to take a breath now and then, to take a step back, to regroup and energize. In fact, if we can deal with the guilt of doing that, it’s recommended.
So, what do you do if you feel guilty for needing to take a breath? What do you do when you need to be away from Animal Advocacy to deal with other agenda, or to take care of yourself? What do you do when you just need to talk to someone who gets where you’re at?
Here’s a helpful tip: Get an Advocate Buddy. Believe it or not, sometimes the best buddy is someone not even close to you. This may be someone whose related posts you admire on social media or someone in your local town with similar interests (through a rescue or shelter group, a Meetup.com group or vet practice).
An Advocate Buddy can be many things: It’s nice to know that while you are catching your breath, your Advocate Buddy is doing what you would do – maybe that means sharing information, helping on a cause, signing and sharing Animal Petitions, and working to make a difference. An Advocate Buddy is also a great resource to talk to, when you need to talk about what you are seeing, feeling and/or doing.
It takes a lot of guts to be an Animal Advocate.
And it takes a lot of guts to be an Advocate Buddy – because sometimes we have lots to talk about that isn’t happy or pleasant, and a lot of that can sometimes be hard to listen to. But the right person will. Every time.
So, don’t be shy about reaching out to someone. Chances are, they could use an Advocate Buddy also.
PS: If you are struggling with how you are feeling, and you see no end in sight, you are not alone. Mondays – Wednesdays you can make a toll-free call to the In Defense of Animal’s Animal Activist Helpline for guidance. If you feel you cannot wait for the beginning of the week to come to make that call, please tell someone how you are feeling RIGHT NOW, or call your doctor or 911. It matters, and we care.