Friday, 25 January 2013

Dealing with the suicide of someone close to you

It is estimated that 5% of people attempt suicide at least once in their lives, and 1 million people succeed every year, that’s more than from war and murder combined. If one of these people is someone you know and love, it is a very hard thing to deal with. The emotions are often different from other types of bereavement and can cause feelings on top of the usual grieving process. Many people feel a strong sense of abandonment and guilt, but you have to let these feelings go or they will consume you. Following these guidelines should be the first step to accepting the death of your loved one. 

  • Record you emotions in writing. This can help you process what your feelings and help you let go of any of the anger and guilt. 
  • Set time to grieve. Don’t try and carry on as normal, you must deal with your emotions. 
  • Look after yourself, eat well and exercise. This will help you feel better and make it easier to sleep. 
  • Don’t feel guilty. Talking to someone with a realistic perspective can help you rationalise. 
  • Constantly thinking “What if I’d done something differently” will not help grief. Once someone has decided to take their life, they will go to great lengths to do so- no matter what you did. 
  • Avoid making major decisions straight after the death. 
  • Ask for help in arranging the funeral and sorting out the affairs of the deceased. 
  • Anger is a natural response to death, resulting from a sense of helplessness. Don’t direct this anger towards the deceased or others. No-one could have prevented this. 
  • Suicide is rarely from a single cause so blame should not be placed on anyone. 
  • If you found the body, you may suffer from reoccurring and disturbing images. Talking to someone, perhaps a professional, can make these images less painful. 
  • Birthdays and anniversaries of the death can be difficult. Arrange in advance with other family members/ loved one how to spend the day. Celebrate their life rather than mourn it. 
It is unlikely that you will ever fully get over the death of a loved one, but following these steps can make it easier to deal with. Have faith that it will get easier and work through the grief.

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