To lose someone to suicide is one of the most heart breaking, debilitating experiences possible. In 2018 Suicide rates were at an 11.8% increase: so why still, is nothing being done about it? And how on earth are the ones left behind supposed to cope or carry on with such a trauma. Well I guess that’s up to us to figure out along the way, ultimately at the cost of our own mental health.
Please bear in mind, this has been a tough one for me to get round to writing; with it being such a personal subject, close to my heart (as I’m sure most of you reading this will resonate with). Also, I have to disclaim, I’m not a professional therefor if anyone feels in any way suicidal/low etc. Please speak to a loved one and a GP or call one of the helplines below.
1 -It’s okay not to feel.
Usually, the first time you hear the news, its an out of body experience. Time stops; everything around you suddenly become invisible as you fall into a deep state of confusion. The first thing to know/always remind yourself is that whatever you feel, even if it’s nothing. However you grieve, its normal, and you’re allowed to feel that way. From experience, it was a complete shock, followed by an overwhelming feeling of disbelief, anger and guilt. From sobbing, feeling nothing, depressed to laughing and remembering happy times, to wondering why I didn’t notice, to reading over things and overthinking, feeling guilty, lost, confused, eager for answers… I feel this is one of the hardest emotions to get round, with all the questions we need answers to, reasons, wondering if we could have done something more, or why we didn’t notice? Its tough, but the more we keep asking ourselves these questions, the more we will hurt, and I’m sure the last thing they would want is for anyone to feel at blame etc. But it gets better, and slowly but surely, I was able to control my emotions subconsciously. The easiest thought pattern to get stuck in, is that the way you feel isn’t right. But it is, and once we can accept how we feel and how we deal with things we’re one step closer to making it through the hardest moments. When we cry, endorphins are released into the brain and actually improve our mood, giving us a sense of relief, so please don’t be scared to cry, it’s not weak and it’s nothing to be ashamed off, in fact, it actually does help a little.
2 – Connecting with others.
Whilst this can be the hardest thing to do after bereavement, it’s also one of best things that can really help someone process the loss of a loved one. It may feel like you’re suddenly alone, and that no one understand how you feel, I promise this isn’t the case. Family and friends, who may have been affected are the first people we go to, and this is so beneficial to all involved. It helps ease the mind when we know we’re not alone, that other people feel the same way, understand that you’ll be out of it and allow you too, and that you’re all there for each other. Bearing this in mind, its normal for people to struggle to open up, especially to those also affected. If this is the case, you shouldn’t struggle alone. The grief process is different for each person, and it can last a long for some people, but that’s ok too. Seeing a GP will really help as they can provide all the information necessary with regards to therapists, possible group sessions or support groups out there, whether that be face to face, or online. It may take time, and it will hurt at first, but when we can open up and release how we feel, sorting our minds, the rest will fall into place.
3 – Remember, they’re always with you.
With suicide, it’s difficult and different to a normal bereavement, as sadly it was this person’s choice, which understandably can make it seem absurd to imagine how they truly felt. Even though originally, it may hurt to look through old photos etc, once you’re ready, and only when you’re ready, this can bring some comfort to us left behind. Whilst this can be upsetting, it helps to remind yourself that it was the illness, not the actual person that took control, so that person, can and will be remembered in happy times, when days were good. Some nights, I find myself messaging their social media, or talking to them as if they’re in the room. Sometimes I cry, but other nights, I feel them with me, I can feel their presence and it gives me the urge to carry on, as I know what they would say. It gives me a sense of peace knowing they’d be proud, happy for us and grateful to have had us in their life, and I’m sure they’ll be up there, watching over us and protecting us all the time. When we can appreciate the memories, and live in the moment with that person still in our mind, it’s a relief to finally feel slightly normal again. Remember, there will always be sad days, and you’re allowed. But make those good days the best they can be. And live for them, with all your heart.
4 – Ways to help.
As much as a cliché as it is, and I know myself how annoying it is to feel like people know best, but finding what’s best for you as your own individual is extremely important. Including the main, sleep, eating healthy and getting out into nature; Some things could include, expressing your feelings through talking to people, writing them down in a journal, exercise, reading, remembering/creating a memorial, meditation, praying, yoga, creating rituals with loved ones to keep spirits up, normalising talking about your loved one, and many many more. Please remember to do so within a safe limit, do not expose yourself to risks or big decisions during such a trauma (e.g. exercise/drugs/alcohol in excess). During these times, we’re acting out of thought and not from ourselves. There is no limits when it comes to our mind and inner peace, in time when we can focus and really live through our inner self the grief and burdens suddenly get lighter, they never go away and we never forget, but they do get easier.
All links to any helplines/professional advice will be linked below. Please take the time to read through and keep note, and look after yourself.
To all our angels – We miss you. We love you. And we promise, we will make a change.
Last year you helped me believe I could and told me how proud you were that I’d got help. You’re the reason I’m doing this, and I will be forever grateful for that, and having you in my life❤