Survival remorse

5.23.04. The day. 18 years later, the remorse stays the same. I wonder who else feels it on their day? I value the days since, but this day, the day, its the day i question the most. I just hurt today, its feeling the why me, why not someone else more deserving. I really cant explain to others that dont have the same experience. That’s why i have this day, today, 5.23.04.

I think this is my way of dealing, i hope it may help another who feels the remorse, like myself. I am so happy to be alive. I am so happy that my support came in the way of my loved ones, and you total strangers i have never met. Ive read the help others have given. Its a beautiful thing to feel how much love of life you all bring. Thank you all.


Thank you! I think survivor’s guilt is something we rarely discuss here and it’s a very important subject to say the least. I’ve met many a person who has had a relative pass away from a rupture since I ruptured. The majority share their grief of the loss but are very supportive that I survived. The constant I hear from others is that we survived because we still have a job to do. I’m still trying to figure that job out, lol.

Here’s some good advice about coping with survivor’s guilt Six Tips for Handling Survivor Guilt | Psychology Today. There’s many more articles as well, just do an internet search.

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I have found that i have done a god job with dealing with the guilt. I personally have only had the guilt overwhelm on the day of my rupture, however this year was particularly more difficult. And we do not discuss, i think its the fear of saying i deserve to be here. I have also said that i still have a job to do. But honesty i have thought about all the years of not saying "i deserve to be here! Maybe those are the words i needed to say. You may try it. It worked for me yesterday. Its a joy to be alive!


I too have “my day”, April 27", this year was six years since my ruprure, and yes I had similar remorse and feelings of why me, but here I am six yeas later, can ride my trike and go on hoiday with my wonderful wife, aside from the remorse I know I am lucky to be alive and even luckier to have a loving and caring wife to help me through my frustrations of not being able to do the things I did before April27, 2016. It is really good to have this topic discussed on this site, thank you for bringing it up.


It is Your Day! And thats awesome! Own it.
Recovery is mental as well as physical. You deserve to be here!


It is definitely a joy to be alive! And any self validation is good, but I really like yours. I could’t find anything on how to deal with survivor’s remorse for us, so picked the closest thing I could find. There’s a movie called Survivor’s Remorse was the only thing that came up. I should have mentioned that, thank you so much for catching it!


I think this is a good subject to talk us through. If you think you could explain what your situation is, I am sure others would benefit from it.

I have a slightly different brain arterial abnormality that gave me a stroke risk up until I had an embolization and so far, I’ve not had a rupture, so I’m innocent and ignorant of your situation really but if it would help you to set out a bit more about how you feel and how marking your day helps get through it, I can honestly say I think it would be really helpful for me to understand and others who are in the same situation as you but less able to express it.

If it’s really not easy to talk about it, that’s fine, though. I’m mostly asking because it might help you to talk about it and I think it will help others.

Very best wishes,


“My Day” i had my burst on 5/23/04 on the circle of Willis. I had an amazing surgeon, nurses, and medical staff that helped me through my early recover. My whole feeling over the last 18 years i had never said “why me” and has rather been one of thinking “i have a job to do”. And this Monday(5/23/22) i found myself asking those “questions”, whatdid i do to survive, why not a child, why not…blah. it was the real first time i felt horrible guilt and anger remorse. That is what started this subject for me. And while i found myself questioning, i finally said “i deserve to be here” and that little phrase, as simple as it is, said out loud changed my view on the whole thing. It was what I needed to say. So thats a short version of my story. I hope that this cam give a little hope amd let y’all know your not alone, a lot of us feeel this way.
So remember its “Your Day” own it. You deserve to be here!


Yeah. Definitely everyone is worth it. I need to think about this more.

I have definitely told a number of people over the years to believe that they are as worthy as anyone of a good outcome and I believe that wholeheartedly.

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Happy Aneur-versary :heart:

Thak you! I owned it. I deseved My Day!
Own Your Day! You deserve to be here!


Sending Love and Support. I know how you feel. I went through the same for awhile after my aneurysm, coiling, stroke then craniotomy. We all deal with our survival in different ways. I pray you continue to be well~


I’m glad you brought this up. And bless you, I’m glad you’re here. I often have remorse for being alive. I often wish I had ignored my horrible headache and didn’t take myself to the emergency room. I thought I had a migraine and was just going to ask for some medicine. But it immedialetly turned into an emergency cranitomy for a rupture. I’m 57 yr s old; it’s been almost a year and I can barley function in my job due to memory loss and cognitive decline. The classification of my job means I cannot be fired. It is humilaiting to constantly have co-worker annoyed at me and managers question my need for days off. It’s a high stress job which makes everythng worse. I’m caught between feeling like I should quit because maybe I’ll die soon and should enjoy my last years in happiness and then thinking I dare not quit because it’d too early to retire and what will I do for money if I do live many years. I’m not suicidal, but was in my younger years (teens thru early 20s) until I had my one and only beautiful child, a daughter who is now 35 yrs old. I live in a state with no family at all, my daughter left the state a fews years ago. Family & daughter came to stay with me for initial emergency, but of course they all need to get back to their own lives, and I want them to have their own lives. I’m sad, scared and alone.Few work friends that I have live far away. My vision is now very bad, I have trouble driving, I can’t see at night, short-term memory loss, trouble swallowing & lack of concentration. I’m made pland to quit my job in a few months, move to be closer to family and find a job I can do. I don’t qualify for disability, unless I have aphasia or loss of limb movement. I’m exhausted all the time so I’m afarid about the move and hope I can make it through. It will be a long distance move. I didn’t mean to sound so whiney. I just wanted to thank you for sharing and bless this organization for being here and giving me (and all of us) a plce to talk about something that really only we understand. I know it’s hard on care-givers and family members too so thank you everybody for being supportive. Please forgive my whiny-ness and thank you again for sharing. :heart:


Again, please forgive my pity party. I have no right when people are dealing with the mass shooting of children, war and babies that have nothing to eat. It just seems it would have been better & simpler if I had died and left my daughter with a generous life insurance policy sum of money. Peace & love.

Nobody in here is whiney! You can rant, you can cry, this is a place for that. No judgment zone.
I get how you feel. I have a lot of the same issues. I am now disabled due to my seziure condition, also memory loss an others, but enough about me.
Remember through it all, there are people here who have a similar idea of what yoj are going througjh. Whatever day that is Your Day, (day of your burst, diagnosis, surgery), own it! I say probably too much but itbhelped me. You deserve to be here!


Melvin, You Deserve to be Here!

We celebrate every year with the folks who’ve supported us. We did things a bit differently the last two years, but they recognized what we were doing and had a good laugh. It’s but a handful of folks, but we like to honor them and they all toast me for surviving after I toast them. We’ve had to nix one or two over the years and that’s ok. I remember one who was having car problems and parked in our driveway. She wouldn’t take it to a mechanic nearby. She wanted me to drive her about 15 miles and I didn’t have that ability yet. To say it upset me is an understatement. Stress and anguish does my brain no good at all. She called another friend and then left me to deal with the tow truck. The driver noticed she’d left her phone on her vehicle and I couldn’t figure out how to contact her. When it came time to sign, I had a horrible time of it. The driver was exceptionally considerate and it helped me immensely! But she’s not been invited to our celebration since then and no one questions why, they all know.

When I got out of NSICU after 26 days, I was in terrible shape. I had a very high stressed job as an On Call Social Worker.

Whomever fills out the forms from the hospital was a nitwit as she had me returning to work with no conditions whilst I was still in NSICU. I think it was a couple of weeks after getting home, BH drove me to work as I couldn’t drive the 3-4 miles and we cleared out my office of personal items. I took back everything the agency owned.

The Lead SW actually had the audacity to call me and say I wasn’t allowed to do that without an escort! I told her I hadn’t been fired yet and my badge still worked. A few days later, I received the notice of termination. Apparently, the new Director stopped exit interviews and everything was supposed to be done electronically. I couldn’t figure it out so we went to the County Personnel Office. It took me a long time to figure out that I wouldn’t be able to work again. The desire was there for years, even though I knew I wasn’t capable of doing the long hours anymore with no sleep, drive or deal with upset families. Who wants CPS knocking on their door? uh no one…

I was fortunate to receive my State Employee’s disability because of one man at the County Office. When I see him out and about, I still thank him. I didn’t get my SSDI for a long time, it’s not easy to get though I’d done all they’d asked and the psychologist knew I’d not be able to work, but I was still denied. The aphasia, stutter, photosensitivity etc didn’t matter to our State SS people. I guess my issues weren’t on their checklist. It was a struggle, again fortunate that BH was working and there was a good income coming into our home.

When I was still struggling to get SSDI, a colleague received it immediately (within two months I think it was) for a mild concussion. She went and was hired by a friend who wrote a letter to the folks at SS and they accepted her within a couple of weeks. It may be that a letter from your employer will help you to get on disability. But expect to hire a disability attorney.

Melvin, what I would like you to take from my ramblings, is that for everything negative there are many more positives! We just have to train our brains to see them. Sometimes it’s the little things that come my way. The beauty of a young hawk soaring, the squirrels and rabbits playing, the way our dogs play are just some. Then there are what I call the big ones - I can finally carve again, I’m still able to relearn how to use my tools, I can drive a lot farther now, I can read a book again without help from others for definitions of words (dictionary and Alexa help me at the rare occasions). I can still help others. Finding work arounds to do things I once loved is exhilarating to me.

As @Eric_F says “Own your day”! My day is November 7, it is my day and I am oh so happy to celebrate it!

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As so many others have said, thank you for sharing your feelings about this. I, too, have mixed feelings about my brain aneurysm rupture 10 years ago, and April 8th is always a day that both my husband and I mark in some way. When something bad happens, so many people say, “Why me?”, and I have always felt, “Why not me?” And, as you and others are saying, “Why did I survive?” Whatever the reason, whether just lucky or for a special reason, I am filled with gratitude. We can appreciate every extra moment and treasure this gift of time. You ARE deserving! And I, for one of many, am grateful for your sharing and honesty. Thank you for that gift!


Thank you to all of you… It’s interesting to read other patients views regarding remorse/guilt and ownership.

I can’t exactly say ‘I own the day’ as my initial day is Valentine’s Day, February 14, so the day doesn’t just belong to me :joy: I say ‘initial day’ because I’ve had 6 neurosurgeries and the emotional upheaval of commemorating all 6 ‘days’ would be beyond exhausting. Just acknowledging ‘Feb 14’ is enough for me. It can be a real emotional rollercoaster.

I’ve had to deal with some major guilt/remorse before. I was brought up Catholic (and if you know Catholicism) guilt plays a major role. mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa… and 90% of the time that mea culpa was correct, I was the guilty one… …ohhh I got myself in a LOT of trouble and had a LOT of ‘excess baggage’ because of it all. That excess baggage was the guilt. For a long time I used it all as a reminder, a negative, beating myself up with it. I decided that I could (easily) stay on the same destructive path or turn it around and use it as a positive. I’d been some awful, awful places and if I could prevent someone else from going to those same awful places, it wouldn’t be such a wasted experience. I did some studies and became a youth worker, putting those negative experiences to a positive use. ie “Ahh, don’t do that, because I did that and this is where it can lead too… …you don’t want to go there…”

Four years into that role and the weird headaches I’d been getting get even weirder and the neurosurgical journey started. My world got turned upside down, wrong side up and twisted beyond recognition. I knew I could easily fall back into that guilt trap or I could again turn it around and use my experiences to help others. I got a job teaching people with disabilities independent living skills, basically all the stuff most people take for granted (Cooking, cleaning, budgeting, shopping etc). I taught people who ranged from fully wheelchair bound to mild intellectual disabilities and whole plethora of abilities and skills. Although my role was to teach them, I learnt more from them in resilience, adaptation and determination than I ever taught them. Ten years in that role and my neurosurgical journey took a HUGE u-turn, needing a further 3 operations and I’ve been unable to return to my former profession and been told I’m unlikely to ever be able to return… Even more guilt.

So, I returned to what I know, using my experiences to assist others, and Ben’s helps me to do that. Now, please, don’t get me wrong this is not a purely altruistic undertaking, in other words, I get as much out of it as I put in and sometimes that simple knowledge of “PHEW, so I’m not the only one battling all of this…” is worth more than all the tea in China.

Melvin, using your words here, I think we all have a ‘Pity Party’ to some degree. In fact I think it’s unhealthy for us not to grieve in some way. Life as we knew it has changed and our acceptance of that fact ain’t an easy thing. I fought against it, I didn’t want to accept THIS. I had a life and I wanted THAT life back. It was a battle of mind over body. Mind said “PUSH” body was screaming “STOP” The body eventually won. It took a while to accept and still today I sometimes push those limits a bit. Staying in that state of ‘Pity Party’ can get REALLY heavy and depressing. I can go there for a visit but staying in that state can start dragging me down, way down, so I ‘try’ not to go there too often.

And don’t be apologising for your ‘whiny-ness’. We’ve all gotta get that stuff out or it builds and builds to unmanageable levels and who better to whine to than people who have been there too, people who understand it all. When I first became a member, if I apologised every time I whined the pages would be nothing but apologies :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

Merl from the Modsupport Team


Own It! Celebrate it! Its Your Day!
Lovin it. You deserve to be heree!