• Survivor's Guilt

    Asked by tawoolley on Wednesday, September 5, 2012

    Survivor's Guilt

    Hello everyone,

    After all was said and done following my diagnosis through to recovery, I felt a terrible depression which I can only describe as survivor's guilt. I am uncertain why I would have this, but it really has effected my negatively and for a rather lengthy period. I was diagnosed in 2010 and I am only, really, now coming out of it with some supportive therapy and by reaching out, joining a site like this and getting involved in ACS events.

    Has anyone else had this experience? Can you tell me what you have discovered about it during your personal journey i.e. why it would and does occur, how you got out from under it and how you maintained peace of mind, gratitude and returned to life following the depression associated with survivor's guilt???

    Any input would be a big help.

    Thank you and be well.


    3 Answers from the Community

    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      Thomas, welcome to the site. we are glad to have you! Someone that has been through that will answer before long. For me, I was diagnosed for the third time 4 years ago, I can say I have had "survivors guilt" but I was depressed over the last diagnoses. I looked at everyone else going about their lives and having fun, laughing, smiling, and all I could think was I'm not going to make it a 3rd time. I was mad, depressed, pissy, anything else you want to call it. But once over it, I have been happy to be out of it, and thankful to be here. by your description, it sounds like you have different issues. There are great people here with help to give. Just be patient, someone will come along.
      Hope your issues smooth out,

      about 4 years ago
    • Phsindorf's Avatar

      Thomas, I am also going through the same experience with survivors guilt and depression. I was fortunate that I caught my colon cancer very early. One of the things that has helped me is to have a good support system. Do you have family or friends you can talk to? My mother has been my rock through this experience. My oncologist has also been a great sounding board too, and she gave me some referrals for therapists if I needed additional help. Since my diagnosis I've met several cancer survivors that confirmed this is normal and each day/year becomes easier. I try to take one day at a time, and I've learned to ground myself in my faith and prayer. I hope you find encouragement in the thought what you are experiencing is natural.

      about 4 years ago
    • DaveWaz's Avatar


      Thank you for your question about survivor's guilt; lately it has been a common subject on the site. We posted an article on Survivor's guilt and ways WhatNexters have learned to cope that I thought you might be interested in reading. Perhaps you will find it helpful if you are still struggling with those emotions.


      Hope all is well,

      almost 3 years ago

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