The word mourning does not only refer to the grief caused by the death of a loved one, But also to a loss situation such as divorce, dismissal or loss of a limb after an accident. Pain is a universal experience that all human beings have at different times and in different situations.
Grieving the death of a loved one is never easy. In the case of mourning for suicide, the pain becomes even more intense because it is linked to feelings of guilt and helplessness. The intentional death of a loved one this leaves family and friends very confused and with a high degree of anxiety.
Suicide is marked by stigma. Many people see it as shameful or guilty, others see it as “a choice” and blame the family. Often they don’t know how to support survivors and simply avoid the situation out of ignorance. Whatever the reason, it’s important to keep in mind that suicide and the pain behind it are complex processes.
When a person commits suicide, the direct relatives who live with the person, the rest of the family, neighbors, friends, classmates and / or colleagues are directly affected.
How to Overcome Grief Through Suicide: First Thoughts
Through the testimonies of those who have attempted suicide, we know that the main purpose of suicide is not to end life, But with suffering.
People with thoughts of suicide struggle with emotional agony that makes life unacceptable. Most people who kill themselves suffer from depression, which reduces their ability to solve problems.
Why is grief more difficult to overcome?
The elaboration of the duel involves a series of processes which, starting with the loss, end with the acceptance of reality, reorientation of mental activity and the recomposition of the inner world.
Relatives and friends of people who have died by suicide are likely to experience great grief and dizziness. They often wonder, “Why did this happen? How did I not see this coming? ” They feel extremely guilty for what they should have done more or less. They have recurring thoughts that attack them almost every day. They often feel guilty, as if they are somehow responsible.
Many also experience anger and rage towards their loved one by abandonment or rejection, or disappointment at the idea of not being loved enough to maintain their desire to live.
These flawed assumptions can last a long time if not addressed properly. Many struggle for years to try to find answers or to understand an event which in many cases is incomprehensible.
On another side, society still plays a detrimental role by creating a stigma around suicide which makes the survivors feel excluded. Survivors of loved ones who have died from a terminal illness, accident, old age or other types of death often receive sympathy and compassion. A family member is never blamed for cancer or Alzheimer’s disease, but society continues to cast a shadow over suicide.
The role of memories
Another factor that makes grieving suicide different is the memories. When a loved one is lost due to illness or an accident, we have fond memories. We can think of our loved one and share stories with nostalgia. However, this is generally not the case for the suicide survivor. Thoughts come to him like, “Maybe he wasn’t happy when I took this picture of him?” “Why didn’t I see her emotional pain when we were on vacation?”
Suicide loss survivors not only experience these complicated aspects of grieving, but also they are prone to developing symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The indescribable sadness of suicide becomes an endless circle of perplexity, pain, retrospective scenes and a need to numb the anguish.
Ways to help a suicide survivor
If you know someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, there are many things you can do. In addition to accompanying them in their pain (grief), you can help to get rid of the stigma created by society.
1. Ask if you can help and how
In case they are unwilling to accept help, with this gesture show that you are accessible to them. Avoid distancing yourself so that she knows she can talk to you when you need to.
2. Be patient
Do not set a time limit for the survivor’s sentence. Complicated grief can take years. Encourage him to share stories and express his thoughts. Repetition can be a key factor in recovery.
Be a compassionate listener. The best gift you can give to a loved one who has survived loss to suicide is your time, peace of mind, and affection.
He assumes that they need to express their feelings, sometimes with silence and other times with sadness or anger.
Don’t be afraid to talk about suicide. You can, express your feelings of sadness and name your loved one. Those who have lost someone to suicide feel great harm and they really need your empathy, compassion and understanding.
Ways to help you if you’ve suffered a suicide loss
It can be very painful, but you have to learn to face reality and understand it you are not responsible for the suicide of your loved one.
1. Put no limits on pain
The period of mourning needs its time. You have to go through the different phases until you come to terms with reality.
2. Plan for the future
When you are ready organize with the help of your family the days of family celebrations, Birthdays and Christmas. Realize that the hours will now be lived with sadness and seek supportive and strengthening bonds to minimize reactions of intense sadness.
3. Make connections
Consider joining a support group specifically designed for suicide survivors. The environment can provide a healing environment and mutual support.
4. Seek professional help if you need it.
Remember you are crossing one of the most difficult and painful situations in life and you may need therapy so as not to unnecessarily prolong the phases of the duel.
- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (1997) The Wheel of Life
- Feigelman, W., Gorman, BS and Jordan, JR (2009). Suicide stigma and bereavement. Death Studies, 33 (7): 591-608.
- Jordan, J. (2001). Is grieving over suicide any different? A reassessment of the literature. Suicide and Life-threatening Behavior, 31: 91-102.