The death of someone significant can be devastating. The emotions are intense and punctuated with memories of our person. The emotions of shock and anguish that follow can often seem overwhelming and challenging to manage. The feelings of grief come in predictable and unpredictable moments, bringing pain and moments of joy, too.
A suicide death often creates additional burdens. These burdens can differ from those someone may experience when bereaved from other types of death. As we mourn and try to understand, there are likely conflicting emotions and a battle to come to terms with a suicide.
Moreover, there are numerous added burdens. Although sadness and disbelief are often associated with a death loss of any kind, those who have had someone die by suicide may also begin to experience overwhelming guilt, confusion, rejection, shame, and anger. These experiences can become further troubling because of stigma and trauma, and it becomes particularly challenging to understand guilt and responsibility.
There’s a struggle to make sense of a suicide and the anguish to understand why the person decided to end their own life. They will often replay events that led up to the last moments, looking for clues or warnings, and may tend to blame themselves. It becomes easy to get caught up in self-blame.
Furthermore, they may feel rejected or abandoned by the deceased and see them as someone who gave up and left their loved ones behind. They may also ask themselves why their relationship with the person was not enough to keep them from taking their life.
There may also be the burden of constant anger. It could be anger towards the person who died, at themselves, at family members, friends, at God, or just angry at the world. They may also find it difficult to talk to others about their loss because of stigma. It is also possible to develop some PTSD or other trauma because of the loss.
Those grieving a suicide loss may find it hard to reach out for help. As a result, they may not get the help they need as people around them are probably unsure how to help.
All of these burdens make it particularly important to utilize available resources for support, such as grief counseling, friends, family, suicide prevention organizations, or a suicide loss support group. There is a community willing to help and offer support.
Do not face these burdens alone. If you are a friend or family member of someone who died by suicide, take time to understand their burdens and offer support. The resources are here to help, and we can all utilize them.
Written by: SUPE, SUPE is one of the most comprehensive online drug education and prevention resource.
Edited by: HealGrief