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Surviving the suicide of a loved one
by Storyteller. February 22nd 2013, 06:59 AM

Surviving the suicide of a loved one
By Kathy (drowningangel)

Regardless of the cause, death is incredibly hard to cope with, and when someone close commits suicide, it may leave you feeling especially lost and alone. Suicide is the third highest cause of death for those between the ages of 15 and 24 in the world. When this tragedy strikes, family and friends go through many changes that can be overwhelming, and while no one can go through the grief process for them, understanding emotions may help.

Saying the word.
It will take time, but eventually, the reality of suicide must be faced. Many people want to believe their loved one has passed due to natural causes; they never say the word "suicide" or admit what has happened.

Do you have to think about the details? No, but many people feel it is important to admit that suicide is the reason your loved one is gone.

Facing your grief.
Letís face it: you canít run from grief. You may attempt to bury it and ignore the pain youíre feeling, but that may only do you harm. Donít attempt to downplay or put away the emotions youíre going through due to your loss. Face them head-on.

You donít have to do this alone. Chances are those around you who also knew the victim feel just as helpless and confused as you. Lean on your support system of friends and family, and share your feelings and thoughts with one another. If you feel that doing so may simply be too much to handle (even with the support of friends and family), contact a therapist for grief counseling to learn techniques and ways to handle your stress and emotional pain.

Writing it out.
You may find that keeping a journal in the days after losing your loved one can be very helpful. Writing letters to the deceased, allowing yourself to speak freely about your thoughts, even writing poetry or creative pieces seems to help some with the grief process. Later on, they find looking back on the experience as a window into their growth.

Doing too much and too little.
After a suicide, some people isolate themselves. Whether it be emotionally or socially, allowing yourself private time to grieve can be a good thing. It can, however, become a bad thing if taken too far. On the other hand, throwing yourself immediately into activities and staying busy, can prevent you from being able to properly grieve. Find a balance that is good for you. It is okay to feel your feelings, but try to remain aware of the world around you.

Going crazy?
No, you are not "losing it". It is very normal to feel like you are disoriented, confused, angry, or anxious, especially in the initial days or weeks after loss. You are reacting to an enormous emotional shock and it will take some time to balance this out, to help you return to your ďnormalĒ state.

Getting physical.
It is not uncommon for many who have had a death in their family, especially a suicide, to begin experiencing physical problems, including headaches, nausea, body pains, and even anxiety attacks. Donít ignore these problems. If it affects your day to day life, it is something that you should mention to your doctor. Stress can cause physical problems, and emotional difficulties can as well (including depression).

Masking the pain.
Grieving friends and family often tend to turn to drugs and alcohol to ease the pain of loss. Turning to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism is not going to help how youíre feeling, nor will it make the grief process move along any faster. Substance abuse can only lead to more problems in your life, including withdrawal and addiction.

Suffering alone.
There is no need to go through your grief and pain alone. You are not the first to feel what youíre feeling and think how youíre thinking. Always remember that no two survivors grieve the same, but take comfort in the fact that others have been in your shoes and have made it to the other side of grief: acceptance.

Join a self help group or stay in contact with those who have experienced suicide in their lives. Simply talking to those who know what youíre going through can make a world of difference.

Feeling the guilt.
Most people like to think there is something we could have done to help a suicidal loved one - to prevent their death, which leads to feelings of guilt. This is not the truth at all.

There comes a point when you must accept that nothing can or could be done. Guilt over the situation can do nothing but worsen your mental and physical health. Donít be afraid to talk to those around you about how you are feeling or to write it out, but if you feel this is not enough, contact a counselor for additional help.

Being angry.
Donít be afraid to be angry. Anger, confusion, rage, disappointment, so many emotions go through our hearts during grief, and we must allow ourselves to express them. Punch a pillow. Find a quiet place where you can scream or cry it out. Listen to angry music. Take martial arts or hit the gym. Release these emotions in a healthy manner; keeping them inside will only harm you in the long run.

Surviving the suicide of a loved one is one of the hardest things anyone could do. It is going to be hard, but it is definitely possible.

Don't forget that youíre never alone. There are endless websites and support groups that are filled with people who have been or are going through what youíre experiencing.
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