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Death and Grieving Coping with loss is difficult at any age, but you are not alone during this difficult time. Reach out to other users in this forum.

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ljmohler Offline
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A friend committed suicide 1 year ago and I feel like it is my fault. - April 3rd 2017, 09:12 PM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of death or grieving, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread might therefore not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

I do not know what to do. I knew a girl named Alecia, and I always seen her walking on the side of the road or at church. I knew that she was going through depression and thoughts of suicide, which I have been going through that too, and she asked for help. But I was selfish and ignored her because I thought that I should focus on my own mental health instead. Not long after I decided to focus on my own issues, Alecia killed herself. I could have helped her and kept her from committing suicide, but I was selfish and did not even try to help her. I know that it is my fault that she killed herself since I did not help her and I do not know how to live with this guilt. Everyday I think about how I could have saved her and how I could have prevented her family from hurting, too. One year ago, on April 1st, Alecia committed suicide and I cannot seem to be able to feel anything but pain and guilt. I need help.
   
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Re: A friend committed suicide 1 year ago and I feel like it is my fault. - April 3rd 2017, 10:43 PM

Hey there and welcome, I'm sorry to hear about your friend. Suicide is a different kind of loss and if you're dealing with added guilt, it can be even harder to cope with. I had a somewhat similar experience. I had a distant cousin who died by suicide and a few months before it happened, I saw him and somehow knew he would do it. I was absolutely sure, but I didn't tell anybody. He was getting professional help, so I figured if I could tell, then they could too, and he would be stopped. When I found out he died, it was immediate guilt. I believed he died because I didn't say anything and that it was my fault. When I told my dad about it, he made me feel worse, essentially confirming what I had already believed. Thanks Dad!

The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that, as sick as he was, there was a chance he would've done it anyway. Even some people who seek help still kill themselves. He did it, I didn't cause him to do it, and there's only so much you can do for another person. I also doubt that someone would want me to carry this guilt for the rest of my life, even if they didn't know me that well. It's been 13 and a half years now.

I don't think it was wrong for you to focus on yourself, it's actually a very healthy step, but I don't think she would want you to feel guilty over this. You did what you thought was best at the time and you can only take so much responsibility for someone else's life.


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Re: A friend committed suicide 1 year ago and I feel like it is my fault. - April 5th 2017, 04:00 PM

Like it's been said, even if someone does seek help, there is still a chance they will experience or even act on suicidal thoughts. Even if you did help her, she still may have felt suicidal anyway.

Deciding to focus on your mental health during that time was not selfish. It is important to look after yourself and supporting someone else through depression and suicidal thoughts can take a toll if you are not looking after yourself. You have to take care of yourself so you can be the best you can be.

Something else to consider, too, is that suicide is a choice. You did not make that choice for your friend; she made it for herself. Though people struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts can be supported by other people, it is ultimately on them to work on themselves because there is only so much someone else can do to help.

This is definitely not your fault. Is professional help available to you? If it is, that could be something to consider; it could help you work through the grief and guilt you're experiencing.


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Re: A friend committed suicide 1 year ago and I feel like it is my fault. - April 7th 2017, 06:25 PM

When I was sixteen, one of my friends committed suicide. It's been over three years now, and I still struggle to accept that I am not to blame for her death. There are things I could have done to help her, but in the end, suicide was her decision that I could not have changed. It sucks, and it's so hard to accept that I could have done nothing, but learning to accept that has helped me tremendously in healing from her death. I ended up needing professional help to get the point that I don't blame myself, so please don't be afraid to reach out for help if that's what you need. There is no shame in getting help.

It's absolutely not selfish to focus on taking care of yourself. As the others said, it's important to take care of yourself first and make sure that you're safe. Trying to help someone cope with depression and suicidal thoughts is extremely difficult.


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Re: A friend committed suicide 1 year ago and I feel like it is my fault. - April 12th 2017, 01:55 PM

Death is an absolute dark place. I am very sorry your friend had done it.

Its not your fault at all. I know, you might think there is so much you can do for her. Its true, you can do many things for her. But remember that you are a human, and the help you can offer, despite a lot, is also limited. I am sure you had throw all your heart in helping her as much as you can, but you need to realize that you have to take care fo yourself as well. If you are mentally unwell, how are you able to help her at that time?

Suicidial thoughts are not as easy to wipe off as you think. Its very very difficult. Be forgiving to yourself when you unable to help your friend. Remember, the process is important. You helped your friend during her last times and at least she is not alone. Most importantly, she had been in your heart as a friend. I am sure she felt the same that you are her friend too.

Please dont make yourself in pain so deeply, its very sad to read it. You had done nothing wrong!

She will never be back in life, but she is in your heart. She never left you. I hope you realize that there is no point in thinking what you could have done. Its very painful and I really hope you dont make yourself in so much guilt. You had tried all you can to help her. I assure you that. You had tried more than enough. Her battle is not as easy as you think to fight against it, but you had tried your best. That's all that matters.

You did nothing wrong. I hope one day you can realize that and get out of the sadness. I know you can do this.


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Re: A friend committed suicide 1 year ago and I feel like it is my fault. - April 12th 2017, 04:56 PM

First off I am very sorry that you had to suffer through your friends death by suicide. I do understand that you may feel that you should have reached out more to assist your friend and that would have helped her in the right direction. That has to be really tough what you are living with right now. One thing though is someone in deep depression as your friend must have been to commit suicide there is so much more than just yourself talking to them could have done. Sure you could have recommended them to seek advice from an adult or a professional, but what is to say that she would have. What I guess I am trying to say as hard as the situation is putting the entire blame on yourself is not making your mental health any better at all and that is what you need to focus on. That is just my 2 cents. I hope I did not come across a too harsh.
   
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Re: A friend committed suicide 1 year ago and I feel like it is my fault. - April 18th 2017, 04:40 AM

I try to tell myself that it is not my fault, but I cannot help but to feel guilty. She may have been set on doing it, but I could have stayed with her to make sure she was safe. I could have done so much more than watch her go through pain without someone there caring for her. What you guys are saying is true about how I need to accept that it was not my fault and that it was okay to focus on my own needs, it's just that the guilt constantly consumes my mind and I cannot stop it. It hurts just as much as it did the first time I found out that she killed herself. Do any of you know a way to try and make this guilt and pain go away? Thank you all for telling me that I am not at fault for this, I just cannot seem to stop hurting because of it.
   
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Re: A friend committed suicide 1 year ago and I feel like it is my fault. - April 19th 2017, 12:55 AM

Even if reminding yourself that it isn't your fault isn't helping right now, it may help if you repeat it to yourself often over time. Sometimes reminders need to be said very often so you can kind of "drill it into your mind."

It is probably hard for you to stay away from the could haves, but looking back in time and analyzing what you did or did not do will not change what happened. Unfortunately, we can't go back in time. We can only more forward. Something to consider is that your friend probably didn't want you to feel guilty for her death.

I do not know how to cope with survivor's guilt, but I found this blog written by a therapist. She has related posts about guilt listed below this post. Maybe you can look around with your favorite search engine and see if you can find any resources that help you with your guilt.

Do you ever write about your feelings? Perhaps you could dedicate some time to blogging or journaling about how you're feeling. Writing about the guilt may help keep some of it out of your mind. Even the physical feeling of pressing a pen to paper or your fingers to computer keys can be therapeutic.


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