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How do I detach myself from my sensitive work area?

Q: I have never written to a site like this earlier but I wanted to ask if I am abnormally oversensitive? I am 28 years old and work in the field of mental health. I have become increasingly sensitive to patient stories that I write, which are quite horrific in terms of types of violence, torture and child abuse. I feel so sad when I type some reports and I just cannot believe there is so much evil in the world, that poor innocent children are being abused as I write this, and that we are failing them by not helping. At the same time, my mind drifts off and I cannot help visualising how it might have been and wish I could shut off- and it makes me feel like there must be something wrong with me. I have an aunt who has bipolar disorder but apart from this I am happy and don't experience bipolar symptoms so don't think its related. I have no sexual abuse in my history so why am I so affected by this? Sometimes when I pass little kids in the streets it reminds me of the horrible stories I read, and it makes me want to cry. I don't want to leave my job, because I really like the people I work with. I just want to learn how to cope with reading such things, - how to switch off my brain from thinking about it. I work for some of the best psychologists in the country but don't want to ask for their advice in case they think I have a problem.

A:It is human to be sensitive and as a woman you may be more sensitive. Field of mental health does get challenging and especially if it is affecting you emotionally. We are addressing it and you are part of the help provided. Initially it may be difficult but as time goes you may learn to cope with it. It may help to share experience in your peer group, do you have a mentor, with whom you can share and get guidance. Many a time having light music while typing the reports may help. Looking at your stress levels and managing it with appropriate steps helps. Take on regular physical exercise, look at your lifestyle in form of eating habits and fluid intake. This will help with improving mental health in general. If you continue to have difficulty, taking regular therapy session may help. Which country do you work in? Do you have employee support system? You may be able to get some confidential help.


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