Coping with the Suicide of a Loved One or Friend

Posted Sep 5, 2017

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Summary

You might be stuck somewhere in the grieving process. Here are some ways to get through it.

Chances are that you have known somebody who has considered suicide. But what happens when you lose someone that way? How do you move on with your own life?

The stigma of suicide

Your family member, loved one, or friend may have chosen to end his own life suddenly due to depression, a chronic health condition, or another difficult situation. She might have made it known she wanted to take her life. He might have kept his internal misery to himself. It is usually not a selfish act to hurt others—rather, the only way a person can see a way out from her pain.

Each suicide can touch six to 32 loved ones, or many more if it’s publicized or a famous person. Many survivors experience a range of complex grief reactions. These can include:

  • Guilt that you didn’t know it was coming, or that you couldn’t save him
  • Anger that your loved one or friend could be so selfish
  • Abandonment from her
  • Denial that he would choose to die in such a manner
  • Helplessness that he is gone and you have to continue without her
  • Shock at how it was done, or that it was sudden

Give yourself time to go through any and all of the reactions. It’s possible how you feel is even further complicated by religious beliefs. Or, maybe you were the one who found the person—or were with him when it happened. This can make the suicide especially personal and hard to get over.

How to help yourself

You might be stuck somewhere in the grieving process. Here are some ways to get through it:

  • Give yourself time. Everyone handles death in their own way and suicide is no different. You don’t have to follow a particular timeline or traditional path of grief.
  • Experience your feelings of guilt and anger at the person. Try to remind yourself that it was not your fault and it was not done to hurt you.
  • Reach out to others. Know that their family members and other friends are probably having many of the same reactions. You could let those in your inner circle support you too, even if they didn’t know the person. Know that you don’t have to be ashamed or embarrassed to share your feelings.
  • Realize that the grief will likely come in waves. There will be reminders of the one you lost. Those first anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays can be tough. Don’t feel as though you have to celebrate the same way if it’s too painful.
  • Find professional help through a support group or counselor. Take a step back and tell people what you need to move on. Sometimes, it’s just a listening ear.

It might be hard to imagine that life can be joyous again. Eventually, you may even be able to experience the highs and lows of daily living again. Your loved one or friend won’t ever be forgotten. Once the rawness and anger fade, you will hopefully be able to remember the good times you shared together.

Resources

Alliance of Hope
www.allianceofhope.org/

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: I’ve Lost Someone
https://afsp.org/find-support/ive-lost-someone/

Parents of Suicides - Friends and Families of Suicides
www.pos-ffos.com/

Suicide Support Group
https://afsp.org/find-support/ive-lost-someone/find-a-support-group/

Survivors of Loved Ones to Suicide, Inc.
www.solossurvivorsoflovedonestosuicide.com/

By Andrea Rizzo, MFA
Source: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5); "Feeling Suicidal," www.girlshealth.gov/feelings/suicidal/index.html#why; "Suicide Prevention," National Institute of Mental Health, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml#part_153176; "Increase in Suicide in the United States, 1999-2014," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db241.htm; "Preventing Suicide," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/Features/PreventingSuicide/index.html
Reviewed by Jenni Myers, LCSW, Director of Corporate Strategy; Dale Seamans, Executive Editor, Thought Leadership; Elizabeth Taylor, CRSS, Peer and Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

Summary

You might be stuck somewhere in the grieving process. Here are some ways to get through it.

Chances are that you have known somebody who has considered suicide. But what happens when you lose someone that way? How do you move on with your own life?

The stigma of suicide

Your family member, loved one, or friend may have chosen to end his own life suddenly due to depression, a chronic health condition, or another difficult situation. She might have made it known she wanted to take her life. He might have kept his internal misery to himself. It is usually not a selfish act to hurt others—rather, the only way a person can see a way out from her pain.

Each suicide can touch six to 32 loved ones, or many more if it’s publicized or a famous person. Many survivors experience a range of complex grief reactions. These can include:

  • Guilt that you didn’t know it was coming, or that you couldn’t save him
  • Anger that your loved one or friend could be so selfish
  • Abandonment from her
  • Denial that he would choose to die in such a manner
  • Helplessness that he is gone and you have to continue without her
  • Shock at how it was done, or that it was sudden

Give yourself time to go through any and all of the reactions. It’s possible how you feel is even further complicated by religious beliefs. Or, maybe you were the one who found the person—or were with him when it happened. This can make the suicide especially personal and hard to get over.

How to help yourself

You might be stuck somewhere in the grieving process. Here are some ways to get through it:

  • Give yourself time. Everyone handles death in their own way and suicide is no different. You don’t have to follow a particular timeline or traditional path of grief.
  • Experience your feelings of guilt and anger at the person. Try to remind yourself that it was not your fault and it was not done to hurt you.
  • Reach out to others. Know that their family members and other friends are probably having many of the same reactions. You could let those in your inner circle support you too, even if they didn’t know the person. Know that you don’t have to be ashamed or embarrassed to share your feelings.
  • Realize that the grief will likely come in waves. There will be reminders of the one you lost. Those first anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays can be tough. Don’t feel as though you have to celebrate the same way if it’s too painful.
  • Find professional help through a support group or counselor. Take a step back and tell people what you need to move on. Sometimes, it’s just a listening ear.

It might be hard to imagine that life can be joyous again. Eventually, you may even be able to experience the highs and lows of daily living again. Your loved one or friend won’t ever be forgotten. Once the rawness and anger fade, you will hopefully be able to remember the good times you shared together.

Resources

Alliance of Hope
www.allianceofhope.org/

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: I’ve Lost Someone
https://afsp.org/find-support/ive-lost-someone/

Parents of Suicides - Friends and Families of Suicides
www.pos-ffos.com/

Suicide Support Group
https://afsp.org/find-support/ive-lost-someone/find-a-support-group/

Survivors of Loved Ones to Suicide, Inc.
www.solossurvivorsoflovedonestosuicide.com/

By Andrea Rizzo, MFA
Source: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5); "Feeling Suicidal," www.girlshealth.gov/feelings/suicidal/index.html#why; "Suicide Prevention," National Institute of Mental Health, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml#part_153176; "Increase in Suicide in the United States, 1999-2014," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db241.htm; "Preventing Suicide," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/Features/PreventingSuicide/index.html
Reviewed by Jenni Myers, LCSW, Director of Corporate Strategy; Dale Seamans, Executive Editor, Thought Leadership; Elizabeth Taylor, CRSS, Peer and Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

Summary

You might be stuck somewhere in the grieving process. Here are some ways to get through it.

Chances are that you have known somebody who has considered suicide. But what happens when you lose someone that way? How do you move on with your own life?

The stigma of suicide

Your family member, loved one, or friend may have chosen to end his own life suddenly due to depression, a chronic health condition, or another difficult situation. She might have made it known she wanted to take her life. He might have kept his internal misery to himself. It is usually not a selfish act to hurt others—rather, the only way a person can see a way out from her pain.

Each suicide can touch six to 32 loved ones, or many more if it’s publicized or a famous person. Many survivors experience a range of complex grief reactions. These can include:

  • Guilt that you didn’t know it was coming, or that you couldn’t save him
  • Anger that your loved one or friend could be so selfish
  • Abandonment from her
  • Denial that he would choose to die in such a manner
  • Helplessness that he is gone and you have to continue without her
  • Shock at how it was done, or that it was sudden

Give yourself time to go through any and all of the reactions. It’s possible how you feel is even further complicated by religious beliefs. Or, maybe you were the one who found the person—or were with him when it happened. This can make the suicide especially personal and hard to get over.

How to help yourself

You might be stuck somewhere in the grieving process. Here are some ways to get through it:

  • Give yourself time. Everyone handles death in their own way and suicide is no different. You don’t have to follow a particular timeline or traditional path of grief.
  • Experience your feelings of guilt and anger at the person. Try to remind yourself that it was not your fault and it was not done to hurt you.
  • Reach out to others. Know that their family members and other friends are probably having many of the same reactions. You could let those in your inner circle support you too, even if they didn’t know the person. Know that you don’t have to be ashamed or embarrassed to share your feelings.
  • Realize that the grief will likely come in waves. There will be reminders of the one you lost. Those first anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays can be tough. Don’t feel as though you have to celebrate the same way if it’s too painful.
  • Find professional help through a support group or counselor. Take a step back and tell people what you need to move on. Sometimes, it’s just a listening ear.

It might be hard to imagine that life can be joyous again. Eventually, you may even be able to experience the highs and lows of daily living again. Your loved one or friend won’t ever be forgotten. Once the rawness and anger fade, you will hopefully be able to remember the good times you shared together.

Resources

Alliance of Hope
www.allianceofhope.org/

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: I’ve Lost Someone
https://afsp.org/find-support/ive-lost-someone/

Parents of Suicides - Friends and Families of Suicides
www.pos-ffos.com/

Suicide Support Group
https://afsp.org/find-support/ive-lost-someone/find-a-support-group/

Survivors of Loved Ones to Suicide, Inc.
www.solossurvivorsoflovedonestosuicide.com/

By Andrea Rizzo, MFA
Source: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5); "Feeling Suicidal," www.girlshealth.gov/feelings/suicidal/index.html#why; "Suicide Prevention," National Institute of Mental Health, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml#part_153176; "Increase in Suicide in the United States, 1999-2014," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db241.htm; "Preventing Suicide," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/Features/PreventingSuicide/index.html
Reviewed by Jenni Myers, LCSW, Director of Corporate Strategy; Dale Seamans, Executive Editor, Thought Leadership; Elizabeth Taylor, CRSS, Peer and Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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