Coronavirus: Survivors Guilt A New Reality

Why did I survive and not my partner? Why didn’t I have symptoms but others very serious? More and more people suffer from feelings of guilt triggered by the corona pandemic.

In the context of the current corona pandemic, we can observe more and more emotional and psychological consequences. Even psychologists cannot predict what will happen in the next few days and weeks, but the sad fact is that many people are already suffering from psychological problems, including the guilt of survivors. 

This may sound surprising. Because when we learn that someone has been able to overcome Covid-19, we are very happy and feel hopeful feelings. For example, we recently enjoyed the news that Alberto Belluci, a 101-year-old Italian, was able to leave the intensive care unit and be allowed to go back home. Of course, he is very happy about it and so is his family.

But not everyone is experimenting with this feeling of happiness. Many worry about why they did it, but not their father or mother. Why could I survive the disease and not my brother? Why did I have mild symptoms while others were connected to the ventilator? As in every crisis, every person experiences events in very different ways.

We, therefore, have to react sensitively to the different realities. If you keep following this thought yourself, you shouldn’t doubt taking psychological help. We have to understand that this is an extraordinary situation that leaves deep traces and also touches the soul. One of the consequences is survival syndrome.

Coronavirus: Survivors Guilt A New Reality Self Help  Coronavirüs corona

Survivors’ guilt feelings in times of coronavirus: How does this happen?

In the current situation, we can compare fear and nervousness with magma, which is almost unconsciously but constantly slumbering within us. But not everyone is experiencing the current corona crisis in the same way.

Some can hardly sleep at night. Others are isolated at home, bored all day, and spend most of their time on the sofa watching TV, eating, or sending messages.

However, some people experiment with restless hyperactivity. They force themselves to do things all the time to drive their thoughts away: the more activities the better. Then there are also those who already suffered from anxiety disorders before the Corona crisis and are trying to survive this difficult situation as well as possible.

However, we can now increasingly observe people suffering from guilt feelings because they have survived Covid-19  and others have not. We then look at this phenomenon in more detail.

Coronavirus: Survivors Guilt A New Reality Self Help  Coronavirüs corona

Survivors Feeling Guilty: Why Me? Pain from the fate of others

The more time passes, the deeper the current corona pandemic is imprinted on our personal and collective memory. We are all suffering because a pandemic knows no borders, nationalities or social classes. It changed our lives and selects people, mostly older people with pre-existing conditions, to take with them. But healthy and younger people can also suffer this fate.

In this situation, we miss the loved one, experiment with anger, lack of understanding and guilt. Why me and not her? Many ask. Sick work colleagues also arouse pity or people who have lost their jobs and are uncertain about the future.

While others have not lost a close person, they have overcome Covid-19 themselves and feel overwhelmed by opposites. There is an existential void where questions and unreal sensations arise when we see other people get sick or die as we look into the future ourselves.

Coronavirus: Survivors Guilt A New Reality Self Help  Coronavirüs corona

Survival Syndrome: Reformulation during the Corona Pandemic

In the face of these realities, we are almost forced to take the next step and see the survival syndrome from a new perspective. 

This happens after a traumatic experience. Bad realities such as aggression, a war, a natural disaster, a traffic accident etc. often make people feel guilty, suffer badly and experiment with constant stress. In many cases, the following symptoms arise: 

  • Irritability, bad mood
  • sleep disorders
  • Lack of motivation
  • Psychosomatic disorders such as headache, muscle pain, etc.
  • The feeling of being far from reality
  • Flashbacks and memories of the traumatic event

The guilt feelings of survivors of COVID 19 disease can trigger the same symptoms. Particularly complicated this is because we are still in the middle of the corona crisis are and suffering will, therefore, continue to be supported.

What can I do if I have overcome Covid-19 and feel guilty?

First of all, you should know that it is perfectly normal to experience this emotional reality,  especially if you have lost a very close person. These thoughts are understandable. But now you have to take a decisive step and mourn this person. Accept your emotions, free yourself from your pain and, if possible, find someone who can help and support you.

Accepting the reality of events without blaming yourself is fundamental. On the other hand, it can also be very helpful to focus on others to seek refuge and to alleviate contradictions, emptiness and unreal feelings.

You should also create routines, accept your emotions and set new goals to take the reins of your life again. You have to understand that you cannot control everything. Accepting this is one of the keys to well-being. Put these tips into practice!


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