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Survivor's guilt

Posted by
14 Nov 2015

Right up till today I didn't think survivor's guilt existed for me. I would go so far as saying I did not even feel it existed at all, today is a hard day. For sure a wave of depression is and has been over me today and I need to use all my tricks in positive thinking to fight it. However today I just feel like it’s an impossible task to pull myself out of the deep sinking sand.

Earlier I saw a couple of people on my Facebook who were grieving their lost ones and it made me feel guilty frustration. Frustration that I can't take their grief away from them and guilt in the sense that why am I still alive when others aren't? I've been asking questions like “why did I survive?” and I am struggling to fully get my head round how I feel but I will give it my best shot. 


You see I am learning how human I am, how I am not this indestructable person that’s untouchable. I have feelings and my compassion for others is just so huge it makes me tired. I feel an overwhelming desire to support people. I have made a lot of friends on the internet - male and female. Some I have never met but those feelings of compassion are no smaller for them than for the ones I know well.

You see I know what it’s like to suffer. People say sentences to me like “your the strongest person I know” “you're amazing how you have coped” but I don’t think so. I know how much emotion I feel, which has now become compassion that is endless. But as a human, I see others that did not make it. How that makes me feel is very deep.

Sometimes the only way I know to express what I feel:

Others were no weaker or any less determined than I, it’s just they did not make it and I did. Their life was just as important as mine is. So why did I survive? It's just not fair, it makes me think how their families must feel. I just wish there was some way I could help them overcome that.

Such a hard blog this, but I am just trying to get across to everyone that's survived it's normal to feel like this. It's a form of greif what we feel as survivors. You can't feel this depth of grief unless you have suffered anything where you have had to fight for your life. The depth just will not be there, the feeling of sorry you feel is beyond anything I have ever felt. You want to take it from them because you know how much it hurts.

You know something else? The one sentence that has wound me up more than any other is "at least it's treatable." What about the ones that did not survive what I have? Did they just give up and not fight? No way, it's bullshit! Of course they fought! Cancer took them though but not me, why? I never asked that question while fighting cancer but I am asking it now.

 I will continue to document how I feel so others know that it's normal. So that others know you are not alone, so many men do not read what I write because how it will make them feel. Others don't write how they feel, how will the world know what it's like and be encouraged to carry on unless we tell people how it is.


Cancer does not stop affecting us because we don't have it physically, I would say that it makes no difference as to the pain level. It's just instead of physical it becomes, compassion towards all people. I would be really interested to know if this makes sense to you? I am not going to re-read just post.

I hope your well and also compassionate in recovery,


Everything you read are based on my own experience and my own opinions. I express them here to encourage you. Please share with others, if it meant something to you it will to someone else. 



Really moving and powerful blog Fonz which touches on a number of issues that I think a lot of others will be able to relate to.

Survivor's guilt is something that I experienced too along with an overwhelming pressure I put on myself as a result to be perfect and never waste a second as a result. Of course no one is perfect and the fact that I tried to be and obviously failed only made things worse and increased this sense of frustration and the confliciting emotions I was experiencing as I came to terms with having been through something as traumatic as a transplant and made it out of the other side.

The psychological impact of blood cancer is huge and is often overlooked. One thing I really benefitted from was going to see a counsellor. It's not for everyone but being able to to talk to someone about how I was feeling, getting it out in the open, really helped and gave me the opportunity to rationalise things and think more clearly.

Knowing that I wasn't the only one to feel this way also really helped and support groups are out there should you ever wish to talk to others who are in remission. Leukaemia care have a list of patient groups on their website ( while Macmillan are well worth getting in touch with.

I think you know yourself judging by your blog that there is no rhyme or reason for blood cancer. It's indiscriminate with its victims and who it choses to let live and die. It's not your fault that you made it and others didn't and the best thing that you can do is be at peace with yourself and look to do whatever makes you happy in life. Helping others sounds like something that's really important to you and gives you a lot of comfort and that's fantastic. Keep blogging and remember that we're always here for you if you ever need any help or support.  


Hey, me again! I can relate to everything you have written in this blog. Certainly being the wrong side of fifty I could not understand why teenagers and people in their twenties who should have had a lifetime of experiences ahead of them, died. I was having my treatment at the same time as Alice Pyne and followed her blogs regularly. I was amazed how much she packed into her life, thinking of others and making sure the remainder of her family had something to focus on after she died.

I decided that as my consultant and the health service had put so much time and effort into keeping me alive, and had been successful, there must be a reason why. Perhaps helping others with my blogs and sending out words of encouragement is the reason why.

It took a long time to find the new me (no longer able to work, having suffered hearing loss, and all children no longer at home). Part of my recovery was down to being blessed with two lovely grandchildren.

Don't feel guilty. We owe it to those who didn't make it to live our lives and to look forward as much as possible

Best wishes as always