4 September 2023
The loss of a loved one is never easy to bear, but when the loss is due to suicide, the grief that follows can feel impossibly complex and overwhelming. The mix of emotions – shock, guilt, anger, and even relief – can be confusing and may leave you feeling isolated and misunderstood. This is because grieving a loss due to suicide presents unique challenges and emotions that might not be commonly experienced in other types of loss.
Contending with Guilt and ‘What Ifs’
Guilt is a common emotion following a suicide. You may find yourself replaying moments in your head, wondering if there was something you could have done or said to prevent the loss. It is essential to remember that suicide is a complex act, often the result of deep and overwhelming pain that your loved one was experiencing.
While it’s natural to feel guilty and question what you could have done differently, it’s important to show yourself compassion and remember that you did the best you could with the knowledge and resources you had at the time.
Managing Stigma and Shame
Unfortunately, there is still a significant amount of stigma associated with mental health and suicide. This may make you feel hesitant to share your feelings or talk about your loved one. It’s crucial to remember that it’s okay to grieve in your own way. If you feel comfortable sharing your feelings with others, that’s okay. If you prefer to grieve privately, that’s okay too. There is no “right” way to grieve, and it’s essential to do what feels right for you.
Acknowledging Mixed Emotions
Grieving a suicide loss often brings a mix of emotions that can be difficult to understand. You may feel angry at your loved one for leaving you, relieved that their pain is over, and deeply saddened by the loss all at once. These emotions can be confusing and may leave you feeling guilty or misunderstood. It’s important to remember that these emotions are all valid and are a natural part of the grieving process.
Honouring Your Loved One
Finding ways to honour your loved one can be a crucial part of the healing process. This could be through creating a memorial, celebrating their achievements, or dedicating time to a cause that was important to them. Remembering the positive aspects of your loved one’s life can help you find meaning and purpose in the midst of your grief.
Seeking Professional Support
The grief that follows a suicide loss can be incredibly isolating and overwhelming. It may be helpful to seek support from a professional who is experienced in this specific type of loss. A grief counsellor can provide a safe and supportive space for you to express your feelings and help you navigate the complexities of suicide grief.
Remember, it’s okay to seek help, and it’s okay to grieve in your own way and in your own time. Your journey through grief is unique, and it’s essential to take the time you need to navigate your loss and grief.
Need a safe space to talk, in Harrogate or online? Get in touch with me via the contact form below, by email at email@example.com or by calling 07855 059 964.
And Finally, Know You Are Not Alone
Grieving a loss due to suicide can feel incredibly isolating, but it’s important to remember that help is available, and you do not have to go through this journey alone. If you or someone you know is in need of support, here are some UK mental health resources and contact numbers that can provide immediate help in times of emergency:
- Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide Supportline for information, support or simply to talk: Call 0300 111 5065
- Samaritans: Call 116 123 (free, 24/7) or text SHOUT to 85258
- Mind: Call 0300 123 3393 (9am-6pm, Monday to Friday) or text 86463
- CALM: Call 0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight, 365 days a year) or chat online
- Papyrus HOPELINEUK: Call 0800 068 41 41 (9am–10pm weekdays, 2pm–10pm weekends and bank holidays) or text 07786 209697
- NHS: For immediate support, call 111 or go to your nearest A&E