Survivor guilt: Why not me?
Survivor guilt is the guilt that people feel when they are the one left behind after a death. It could be for surviving the accident that killed them. It could be what you felt you should or shouldn't have done before their death. Or it could simply be that they were ill and you were not. Around 90% of people who survive a traumatic event experience survivor guilt.
The kinds of symptoms of survivor guilt overlap with those seen with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and survivor's guilt has been defined as a symptom of PTSD.
People who have been through trauma before, who live with mental health, addiction or psychiatric issues, or who lack self-esteem, are introverted or are submissive by nature may be more likely to experience survivor guilt.
Survivor guilt generally starts to fade over time. There are a few hints and tips that might help you cope with the feelings:
If your survivor guilt symptoms become overwhelming and mean that you can't function properly, consider talking to a psychotherapist or counsellor.
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I was widowed at 50 when Tim, who I expected would be my happy-ever-after following a marriage break-up, died suddenly from heart failure linked to his type 2 diabetes. Though we'd known each other since our early 20s, we'd been married less than ten years.