Counselors discuss threat of survivor’s guilt after Lee Co. tornadoes

Counselors discuss threat of survivor’s guilt after Lee Co. tornadoes

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Oftentimes, survivors of devastation can battle with the feeling that they have done something wrong by surviving a traumatic event when others did not.

When it comes to survivors’ guilt, you may think of survivors of wars or natural disasters, like the tornadoes that ripped through Lee County, claiming the lives of 23 people in Beauregard.

Professional counselor and CEO of the Pastoral Institute Thomas Waynick says it is all about speaking out about your loss.

“Like a lot of trauma, it’s not just a single loss, it’s multiple losses," said Waynick. "Grief and loss are processed in the same part of the brain as trauma, and those things take time.”

In some cases, survivor’s guilt can include feeling like you could have done more to save another, and your mind is overwhelmed with questions you will never have answers to.

“Because that’s a heavy burden thinking that things should have been different,” said Waynick.

Survivor’s guilt can be complex depending on what the person is already dealing with.

“Certainly, if somebody is already struggling, any additional trauma, any additional loss can add to their since of helplessness or hopelessness," said Waynick.

He also says it is important to have conversations with your children about the loss, grief, and trauma their dealing with too.

Children do not have the same coping skills as adults.

“It’s magnified with children and children need that sense of safe guaranteed place where they can process their grief sit with their grief and have a sense that they are not alone,” said Waynick.

If you are struggling with survivor’s guilt, it is a good idea to get some professional help at places like the Pastoral Institute to know you are not alone.

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