Restorations Therapy Blog

Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One

by on Wednesday, July 28th, 2021

grief

If you or someone you love is considering suicide or shows warning signs for suicide, contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-8255 or call 911 for immediate assistance.

There can be no predicting when someone is going to commit suicide. Some people drop hints to family or friends — as if a “cry for help” — while others may not let on at all that they are contemplating it or even dealing with depression

Their passing may come out of the clear blue, and, in trying to make sense of it, people will ask each other, “Did you have any idea?” or “Did they say anything to you about being depressed?” Whether someone had a clue or was completely caught off-guard, it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. The sad reality is that the suicide of a loved one is a heartbreaking event to endure. 

The Feelings Behind the Event 

Almost everyone who has endured the suicide of a loved one wishes they’d said or done something more as if they could have changed the result. They may wish they’d have given that person more time when they called, reached out to them more frequently by phone, gotten together with them more often, told a family member or loved one of the deceased what was going on. As a result, there may be a layer of guilt associated with someone committing suicide.

You may also experience anger and blame toward family members for not taking better care of this person or paying more attention to them — any clues they may have given that they were in emotional pain. You may even be angry at the person who committed suicide for causing you so much pain and residual fallout from their passing. 

Depending on your closeness to the person who committed suicide, you may even feel that continuing to live is not worth it.

5 Ways to Take Care of Yourself

Following the suicide of someone you loved or cared about, you will go through many emotions; grief is a complex process. It can sometimes take a long time to process all that you’re feeling. Here are some ways of dealing with your emotions: 

#1. Find Support 

It may help to find a support group for other survivors of a person’s suicide. Depending on where you live, such a group may be hard to find. However, there are online support groups offered by reputable organizations or individuals. It may be easier being part of an online group because you’re not sitting in the same room with others, and there’s often a feeling of anonymity when you’re behind a computer screen.

If the idea of a support group isn’t appealing to you, or you feel you need something more personal — whether in addition to a support group or instead of — find a therapist or counselor who provides grief counseling. 

#2. Keep a Journal

You can also keep a journal or diary. Recording your thoughts and feelings and what activities prompt certain feelings and thoughts can be instrumental for you, and especially for a counselor, to help dissect what you’re feeling and when. 

#3. Take Care of Your Physical Health

Eating right, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep can help you concentrate on taking care of yourself. Sudden, traumatic losses can take a toll on your immune system, and compromised immune systems can lead to illness. Eating healthy foods will not only help you now but in the long run. Exercise can be just as beneficial for mental health and stress relief as for physical health. 

When it comes to sleep, every person has a different need for how many hours of sleep they need each day. However, a good rule of thumb is six to eight hours a day. Sleep helps to restore and recharge our bodies and minds. If you find it hard to fall asleep, consider a relaxation program or something that offers “white noise.”

#4. Remember Grief Is Different for Everybody

Keep in mind that everyone’s journey of grief is different. Don’t pay attention to others’ timetables. Allow yourself to take whatever amount of time it takes you to process your feelings and cope with your loss. 

#5. Be MIndful of PTSD Becoming a Reality

As you begin your journey of coping with suicidal loss, it’s essential to realize that your feelings may begin to develop into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you start to feel that the situation is greater than you can handle, you could have PTSD, and it may be time to seek professional help from someone who specializes in trauma therapy. 

Accepting and dealing with the suicide of another person you loved and cared about can be a challenging thing. You may find yourself experiencing a range of emotions, including shock and disbelief, acceptance, sadness, anger, and blame. How you cope with these emotions and your loss greatly depends on what kinds of things you do to help yourself and what kind of professional help you get in the wake of your loss. If you feel that the grief is too much to handle or would like to talk with a professional counselor, we at Restorations Therapy are always here to help. We know that feelings following a loved one’s suicide can ebb and flow and go from one emotion to another quite quickly. You may also experience multiple feelings at the same time. We have counselors and support staff to help you or a loved one find treatment. Call us at (720) 446-6586 today. 

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