Research shows that people bereaved by suicide can have a particularly complex set of feelings and can experience additional struggles in trying to resolve their grief.
Feelings you might experience when you lose someone to suicide include intense sadness, shock, anger, frustration, confusion and isolation. Some people also talk about experiencing a sense of shame or guilt, and while this is a very common reaction it is important to remember that people who take their own lives are often trying to stop feelings of distress that can feel as intense and real as physical pain – the reasons for suicide are complex and you are not to blame.
Whilst dealing with any form of grief, we know looking after yourself may be the least of your worries, however there are steps you can take to help you cope:
- Allow yourself to grieve. Greif is a natural and complex process. Allow yourself to feel a range of emotions without judgement. It’s okay to feel anger, sadness and even possibly guilt. These emotions are normal.
- Reach out for support. Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family or event support groups. Having a support system can make a significant difference in your healing journey.
- Consider professional help. A mental health professional, such as a therapist or counsellor, can provide you with tools to cope with your grief and help you navigate the complex emotions that arise after suicide.
- Avoid blame. It’s common to try to assign blame, whether to yourself or others. Remember that suicide is the result of complex factors, and no single person is solely responsible.
- Practice self-care. Taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally is important during this time. Engage in activities that bring you comfort and joy.
- Set boundaries. Be gentle with yourself and know your limits. You don’t have to engage in conversation or situations that feel overwhelming.
- Allow time for healing. Healing from such a loss takes time. It’s important to be patient with yourself and not rush the process.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. If you find your grief is becoming overwhelming and affecting your daily life, speak to us. We can help. Our Together Service aims to provide individuals bereaved or affected by suicide with the right support, when they need it most. For more information call 01482 240133 or email [email protected]