Being a COVID-19 Survivor: Overcoming Survivor’s Guilt

It can be overwhelming to process how it’s been a year since the start of the global pandemic. It was a worldwide catastrophe unlike anything the world has ever faced, making it challenging to handle and contain. Many lives were lost even in its early stages up until today, with cases continuing to grow.

Although it’s easier to point out the issue of surging deaths every day, there’s also a potential risk of people experiencing the threat of survivor’s guilt from COVID-19. These survivors go through obsessive thoughts, sleeping difficulties, and prolonged lack of motivation even after recovery. It’s a condition that news outlets are not reporting on.

Going through the difficulties of surviving COVID-19

With the pandemic reaching its 1st anniversary, it’s important to remember that not all facts and figures reflect people’s actual realities. Reported positive cases and deaths aren’t the only statistics people should consider after a year of dealing with COVID-19. Instead, people who manage to beat the viruses can still feel survivor’s guilt due to the challenging experience of going through being an infected individual.

Besides the dangers of the virus’s symptoms, the entire ordeal of going through hospital care and the anxiety of being a burden to their loved ones can be traumatic to many. Survivor’s guilt due to COVID-19 can occur when a person feels undeserving of their recovery. This isn’t uncommon to people who have survived simultaneous positive cases with loved ones.

Identifying who can be at risk of COVID-19 survivor’s guilt

Since no one is practically immune to COVID-19, everyone is at risk of experiencing the byproduct of the collective trauma that everyone worldwide faces now. Besides actual COVID-19 survivors, there are also reports of people going through COVID-19 survivor’s guilt due to losing friends, relatives, and loved ones due to COVID-19. It can also be present in people who are identified as asymptomatic individuals who have unknowingly led to spreading the virus to others, causing their deaths. The danger of this form of trauma is that it can occur to anyone, regardless of their mental health, physical well-being, or economic status.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 survivor’s guilt

Common psychiatric effects of COVID-19 include depression, anxiety, and mood changes. However, any prolonged or internalized pain and loss can lead to survivor’s guilt. It’s natural to feel the overbearing difficulty of handling the pandemic mentally, physically, and emotionally. However, there are some signs of particular psychiatric distress that are symptomatic of survivor’s guilt.

Some behavioral conditions include obsessive thoughts on the illness and growing difficulties of recovery. This can manifest in a person even if they’re not a patient at risk of having COVID-19. Feelings of grief, helplessness, and sadness due to this fact are common. These people can also be more prone to social withdrawal and isolation, with a potential risk of entertaining thoughts of suicide. Openness to interpret and accept support about these emotions is the first step in overcoming these complex grief feelings.


Thankfully, all things must have an ending, even the nightmare of CVOID-19 that we’re facing today. Behind the depressing news about COVID-19’s persistence against healthcare solutions, there are signs of humanity gradually overcoming and adapting to this dilemma. There are already vaccination programs and better implementation of pandemic protocols that prepare the world to be COVID-19 sooner rather than later.

Recognizing that you need someone to talk to is the first step to getting better. Getting help from professional therapists is one way to overcome these harmful feelings amidst the global pandemic. If you need a therapist in Brooklyn, NY, to process your thoughts about COVID-19, contact us today.

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