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Everything Changes

The more messed up this world gets, the more God makes sense.

Church Trauma, PTCD & Compassion Fatigue

Saturday, July 18, 2015
When I wrote Post Traumatic Church Disorder - Part One in April 2007 no one was really talking about this issue. At least not online. In November 2009 I combined my four part series into one post which still receives views and comments.

Today if you do a search on church trauma or PTCD you will find a myriad of blogs and articles - even support groups:

Do you have Post Traumatic Church Syndrome?

It’s Called Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome, and Yes It’s Real

Religious Trauma Syndrome (RTS)

post-traumatic church syndrome is Real (and worthy of a capital letter)

My Take: 5 ways to survive 'post-traumatic church syndrome'

Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome Facebook Group

During my personal journey with PTCD I have come to understand other issues that have accompanied my struggle - primarily compassion fatigue, sometimes referred to as vicarious trauma. Last month Relevant Magazine wrote an interesting article on this topic called 4 Ways to Overcome Compassion Fatigue:
Psychology Today describes compassion fatigue as a type of Secondary Post Traumatic Stress. Compassion fatigue is a somewhat common phenomenon that affects medical workers, social workers and even pastors. It stems from witnessing or hearing about traumatic experiences in the lives of other people, and feeling helpless because you can only do so much to help.

Although my journey will be different than yours, there is hope. And it begins by becoming aware of the root issues causing your stress and fatigue so you can heal and find rest.

I want to encourage you today to seek help through counseling and support. While online groups are great, there is no substitute for one-on-one counseling with a registered therapist who has been trained to understand these issues. And while some people do not have insurance to cover the expense of a counselor, some communities now have health centers that offer free walk-in counseling. Definitely something I would encourage you to explore.

There are also many books that can challenge you on your path to healing. One that I plan to re-read this summer was very significant to me back in 2009: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore by Jake Colsen. This book is free to read online through the book's website and also includes free PDF or PDA downloads.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
~ Jesus [Matthew 11:28-30 | The Message]
"...He leads me beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (my self)..."
[Psalm 23:2b-3a | Amplified]
"Let be and be still..."
[Psalm 46:10a | Amplified]