Coping with Suicide
Suicide is a very complex concept. While it is true that suicidal individuals have problems just like you and me, these people, in that moment, feel completely overwhelmed and unable to handle them. For these individuals, suicide is a solution to a problem or many unsolvable problems.
Grief Following Suicide
A loved one’s suicide may trigger certain intense emotions including:
ShockDisbelief & emotional numbness, or feelings that your loved one’s suicide is not real
AngerYou may feel like your loved one abandoned you or left your with overwhelming grief, or you are angry for missing any signs of suicidal intentions
GuiltYou might think about “What if?” scenarios & blaming yourself for your loved one’s death
DespairYou might be gripped by sadness, loneliness or helplessness, and/or you may consider suicide yourself
These intense emotions may continue during the weeks & months following a loved one’s suicide including nightmares, flashbacks, difficulty concentrating, social withdrawal, & loss of interest in usual activities.
Keeping In TouchReach out to other loved ones, friends, and/or spiritual leaders for comfort, understanding, & overall healing. Surround yourself with those who will listen and offer a shoulder to lean on.
Grieve In Your Own WayDo what is right for you, not what someone else may do. (i.e. If it is too painful to visit your loved one’s grave site or share details about the death, wait until you are ready).
Be Prepared For Painful RemindersAnniversaries, holidays, and other special occasions can bring on painful reminders about your loved one’s death. Don’t punish yourself for being sad or mournful. You may want to think about changing or suspending family traditions.
Don't Rush YourselfLosing someone to suicide can cause tremendous pain & healing must occur at its own pace.
Expect SetbacksSome days will be better than others, even many years after a loved one’s death – and that's okay. Healing doesn’t happen in a straight line.
Consider A Support GroupSharing your story with others who are experiencing that same type of grief, may help you find inner strength & purpose.
If you experience intense/unrelenting anguish or physical problems, ask your doctor or mental health professional for help.
This is especially important if you feel that you are depressed or are having thoughts of suicide. Remember that unresolved grief can become complicated, causing you to have trouble resuming your own life.
After a loved one’s suicide, you may feel like you can't go on or that you will never enjoy life again. The truth is that you may always wonder why it happened, but the raw intensity of your grief will fade eventually.
Information above was disseminated by published material from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Mayo Clinic, “Question, Persuade, Refer” by Paul Quinnett, Screening for Mental Health Inc., Missouri Department of Mental Health, Division of Comprehensive Psychiatric Services, & Stopbullying.gov, Screening for Mental Health, Inc., World Health Organization (2014).
The information on this website is not meant as a substitute for qualified professional advice.