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Coping with survivor guilt

Experts share tips when coping with survivor's guilt
Posted at 5:50 PM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 18:50:18-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Survivor guilt can have negative impacts not only on your daily activities but can also take a toll on your mental health. Experts offer advice on how you should take care of yourself or love ones who suffer from this condition.

“I can’t sleep at night because I feel guilty because I couldn’t get the babies out, it’s something you don’t want to go through you have to stand there and watch them burn,” said Juan Galan.

Labeled a hero by many for his compassion and quick thinking as Orange Grove homeowner Juan Galan was able to pull a mother and her young child out of a burning car.

However, Galan says it hits him hard not being able to pull out two young infants sitting in the backseat.

“Understand it is normal to feel that way you’re not abnormal there’s nothing wrong with you if you could’ve done something you would’ve done something but there was nothing to do but the feelings are still there so acknowledging the feelings,” said Dean of College of Education and Human Performance Dr. Steve Bain from Texas A&M University - Kingsville.

Dr. Bain says getting through survivor's guilt can include embracing what happened, grieving when you need to, and seeking professional help.

Also, there’s advice on how to handle the negative stressors which include not suppressing your feelings. When suppressing emotions, Dr. Bain says that can lead to physiological problems along with chest pains, anxiety, and fatigue.

“When you have pressurized emotions, they’re going to come out, it may take a few weeks it may take a few months it might take a few years but those emotions are going to begin to find ways to manifest in your day-to-day activities,” said Dr. Bain.

If you have a loved one who suffers from survivor's guilt Dr. Baine also says you want to pay attention to warning signs, which include negative speech about themselves, personality shift, or withdrawing from others.

“It’s totally okay to say to somebody are you doing, okay? Is there anything I can do to help? Let me help, let me help you if I can. Very important,” said Dr. Bain.