COVID, Lifestyle, Trauma

5 Things to Know If You’ve Felt Survivor’s Guilt for Being Suicidal During COVID-19


Trigger warning: This is a post about suicidal ideation during current events such as COVID. If you are feeling unsafe or in danger of hurting yourself, please reach out to someone you know or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

This year has been incredibly overwhelming physically and emotionally to everyone. The grieving that has occurred due to loss of loved ones and just our life as what we knew before has been a significant weight for the world to carry. This weight is an immense traumatic experience for all. 
Since the COVID-19 virus started, I have struggled with a sea of emotions. I have been afraid of what has happened and what is lost. I am afraid of the unknown. I have felt miserable and sad, wishing for my past life back. I have been angry at life, wondering how innocent lives have been lost. Most significantly though I have felt guilt for being alive. 
Previous to the virus, I have struggled with depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. This has been an aspect of my life for over seven years. I am almost constantly passively suicidal. I would like to preface though that I am safe. I am seen by a doctor, a therapist , am medicated and highly connected to those who support me. 
I was texting a dear friend of mine the other day, where I expressed my uncontrollable sadness and grief for all of those lost by COVID in the last seven months. Similarly to many people, I am carrying a weight like no other. I also shared with her that I feel guilty for living. 

“Why am I alive, when I wished to die for years and all of these innocent people never did and they are gone?” 

As the conversation continued, I was incredibly lucky to have this friend remind me of all those who love and care for me. 

I realized though that it is very unlikely that I am the only person who struggles with feeling suicidal during COVID-19 and has also felt this guilt in the last few months. So these are important messages to those who have felt similarly. 
1. Understand that this is an element of survivor’s guilt.

Survivors guilt is when an individual feels pain and guilt in reaction to surviving a traumatic experience when other’s did not. This guilt can be shown in many ways, but like in this case it is struggling to cope with being alive when thousands of people who lost their lives. COVID – 19 has been a majorly traumatic experience and I think it is important that we recognize that survivor’s guilt is real and it matters. 

2. Recognize that there would be loss if you were also gone.  

When I spoke to my  friend, she told me that it was important for me to remember that if I was gone, it would also create more pain and loss for everyone involved. 

Death of one does not make death of others better. 

The passing of thousands of people does not make your life less worthy of living. It would still be a life lost. A light that has gone out. We talked about the people in my life who would feel tremendous pain and sorrow, if it was me.  If you are feeling similarly to me, I suggest making a list of all of the people that it would hurt if you were gone.  All of these people love and care about you.  

3. Realize that you are not alone. 

I am writing this post because I want to remind as many people as possible that the way you are feeling is real and that you are not alone. I have felt this guilt. I continue to feel this anxiety, grief and guilt. I know it is difficult to find ways to go on, but we can do it together. We will do it together. I believe in you.

4. Call your loved ones. Connect to Others.

One of my biggest recommendations during this experience is to call someone you love and trust. As someone who struggles with suicidal ideation, I use my loved ones as major roles in my safety and my happiness. When you feel unsafe, call them. Face time someone so you can see their face. Ask your family to come over. Sometimes, I don’t even say directly that I am suicidal. I just let them know I need extra support.

 When you are feeling overwhelmed about the weight of COVID or other experiences going on in the world, talk to your best friend, mom, partner, teacher, etc.  Continue to make those connections because isolation can feed suicidal ideation. Connection begins to diminish them. 

5. Remember that you are worthy of living and being loved. 

No matter the struggles and difficulties you have experienced, how many times you have thought/attempted to hurt yourself and how many times you have questioned your life, you are still worthy of living.

 Sometimes I thought that if I’ve wanted to die at one point in my life,  I would never be worthy of living. This is not true. You are still worthy of love, belonging and happiness. Every single one of us can struggle and still be worthy of living at the same time. Just read that one more time. You can struggle and still be worthy of living at the same time. 

To all of those struggling, I am with you. Don’t forget how strong and loved you are. Stay safe and we will keep moving forward together. 

(2) Comments

  1. Pretty! This has beeen an extremely wonderful post.Thank you for supplying
    this info.

  2. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article!
    It’s thhe little changes thast make the most important changes.
    Many thanks for sharing!

Comments are closed.