Healing After a Loved One’s Suicide

Holding Hands

When someone we love passes by suicide, we are flooded with overwhelming emotions. We can feel heart wrenching grief, become consumed by guilt, and writhe with anger all at the same time – it’s a tragedy no one could ever prepare for.

If you’re navigating life after a loved one’s suicide, know that you never have to go through your pain alone.

The Powerful Emotions We Feel After a Loved One’s Suicide

Suicide can trigger intense and very painful emotions. You might experience:

  • Guilt – Guilt is extremely common for people whose loved ones have passed by suicide. You may start to replay situations in your head, wondering how things could have been different “if only” you had noticed your loved one’s pain or acted sooner.
  • Disbelief – You may begin to feel emotionally numb due to shock that sets in after a suicide.
  • Confusion – It may be very difficult for you to make sense of the situation, and you will continue to ask yourself why this has happened although you may never have a real answer.
  • Anger – How could they abandon you? How could you have been so naïve and have missed the signs?
  • Helplessness – Accompanied by sadness and grief, feelings of helplessness often arise and can cause us to collapse both emotionally and physically, even causing suicidal thoughts for those left behind.

Together, these powerful emotions can have severe effects on both our mental and physical health. Many people experience nightmares, social withdrawal, sudden flashbacks or a loss of interest in life while they grieve a loved one’s suicide. These mental side effects can lead to physical side effects like weight loss or gain, a loss of appetite, insomnia or fatigue.

Coping Strategies

After someone we love passes by suicide, it’s necessary for us to grieve. While you deal with the aftermath of the tragedy, it’s critical to take care of yourself and maintain your well-being to combat the mental and physical exhaustion you are feeling.

Try these coping strategies:

  • Give yourself time – Losing a loved one to suicide is one of the most painful things we as humans can experience in life. Be patient as you heal and let yourself feel your emotions when they arise.
  • Grieve your way – Don’t let others tell you how to grieve. Everyone handles pain differently. Something that is comforting for someone else might feel too painful for you to bear, and that’s okay.
  • Use your support system – Although it’s painful, you must reach out to your family and friends for comfort. You are not alone in this. Surround yourself with people who will listen or just offer company in the silence of your grieving.
  • Consider joining a support group – Hearing from others that are going through the same tragedy you are can be a source of strength. If it doesn’t work for you, that’s okay too.
  • Know when to seek help – When the pain is unrelenting and you just can’t go it alone, ask your doctor or a professional counsellor for help. Grief left unmanaged can morph into longer term mental health problems, and a professional can help you develop personalized coping strategies that will help you along your path.

If someone you loved has passed by suicide and you need someone to talk to, our experienced counsellors at Your Counselling are here for you. Contact us for a free consultation and book your first appointment today.