My loved one complete suicide

Following the realisation your loved one ended their life by suicide you will be thrown into chaos.  Now is the time to be gently with yourself and to be kind, let the news sync in slowly and don’t rush anything either physically or emotionally.   You can expect to experience many emotions and your mood may change throughout the day, one minute you may be sad and gloomy and the next you may be laughing at a memory or something someone said.  It is OK to feel all your emotions and it is healthy to do so as they present to you, it is healthy to let them come and go as you need them to, suppressing them in the long-term will be detrimental to your own health.  It is important to remember that you could not have known your loved one was going to complete the act of ending their life, even if they said so out loud.  We can never really believe someone we love would 'actually' do such a thing and we all say things we don’t really mean at times so it is reasonable to think on some level they won’t do it.  So practice self-compassion now towards yourself and your close relatives, the journey you face will be long and painful yet one day you will wake up and the pain won't be as burning, your thoughts won't be tormenting and you will be able to have answers you can accept and move forward into your future with.

  • Feeling all the emotions someone feels following the death of a loved one i.e. shock, despair, confusion, disbelief, numb, asking what if? If only I’d believed you ‘I should have known’.

  • Asking why over and over not being able to make any sense out of what they did.

  • Blaming self, finding fault with self and taking on responsibility of your loved one’s actions.

  • Reliving over and over again those ‘words’ spoken on occasions of unrest between the two of you.

  • Wishing they’d died of something else anything else other than a completed suicide.

  • Feeling ashamed at yourself for even thinking the above. Feeling ashamed for not ‘saving’ or being there to ‘rescue’ them or being able to fix the problem they faced.

  • Feeling shame they completed suicide and ashamed the whole world will now know and feeling ashamed for feeling ashamed!

  • Emotional rollercoaster, emotions can change throughout the day, moment by moment.

  • Seeing your loved one in the street, shops, in the room, in the chair they used to sit.

  • Remembering they have died but not believing or accepting on an emotional level.

  • Feeling guilty that you ‘should’ have done more.Feeling guilty you ‘should’ have seen the ‘signs’ of what they were about to do.

  • Feeling guilty you are alive or you ‘survive’ when they are dead. (survivor guilt)

  • Feeling ‘unreal’ and hurt they didn’t come to you or ask for your help.

  • Feeling angry at them for leaving you. Feeling angry they won’t be there for you.Feeling angry they won’t be there for future family events.Angry they didn’t reach out to you in those moments.

  • Angry at the world, angry at others, angry at Self for no particular reason angry, angry, angry …. just plain ole angry.

  • Feeling angry, hurt, ashamed & fearful all at the same time and feeling confused with yourself and your feelings.

  • Overwhelmed with the intensity of your mixed feelings.

  • Feeling profound sadness at their act and the choice they made.

  • Emotions that explode out or in knocking you off balance literally.

  • Looking for logical reasons in an illogical act.

  • Going round in circles over and over the same questions, visions, imagining and trying to interpret those last weeks, days, minutes and moments in ever decreasing circles.

  • Feeling vulnerable one minute and invincible the next.

  • Having clear intentions one minute and totally confused the next.

  • Thinking that everything they stood for wasn’t true.

  • Thinking everything you shared might have been a lie.

  • Believing the relationship you once thought was enough for your loved one shocked because you now believe it wasn’t or that the relationship you shared was false.

  • Being more sensitive to others pain, being more aware of others pain and grief whilst minimising your own. Expressing yourself “they have it worse than me”, “well at least” fill in your own “at least  ………………………………………………."

  • Being ‘hard’ on yourself, calling yourself names, self-depreciating, sabotaging your healing to punish self for things you ‘ought’ to have done or for being alive even.

  • Rejecting and punishing yourself because you feel others are now rejecting you.

  • Thinking you have to have or find the answer for ‘why’ they completed suicide.

  • Not ‘allowing’ any pleasures that life still offers you.

  • Catching and squelching any smiles and laughter which spontaneously erupts in your daily living.

  • Thinking and being fearful that your children may also take their own life (suicide is not inherited).

  • Thinking and believing your remaining children’s life or your life is ruined by the completed suicide.

  • Fearing you many also want to take your own life or thinking about taking your own life or being curious to what that might be like.

  • You may feel rejected, abandoned, lonely, helpless, ill, in physical pain, isolated, alone put your own feelings here …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  • You may experience flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks, night sweats, and sleeplessness.

  • You may feel overwhelming anxiety and depression may develop from their act.

  • Accepting intellectually what they did and how they died but find it difficult to accept their act emotionally, spiritually or physically.

  • Loss of interest in what once gave you pleasure you may socially withdraw because it seems easier then to explain or talk about the death of your loved one to avoid the ‘confession’ of how they died.

  • Not mentioning your loved one but longing to hear their name mentioned.

  • Avoiding eye contact with anyone or avoiding looking in the mirror.

  • Changing the subject if any one mentions your loved one’s death.

  • Intense feelings of longing and yearning for them to be back and life to be back to how it was.

  • Finding it hard to make any sense from your loved one’s actions or how you feel now after the event.

  • Unconsciously ‘complying’ with others interrogation of the narrative of what happened before your love one completed suicide.

  • ‘Beating yourself up’ emotionally and psychologically for complying with the above.

  • Taking the blame for your loved one’s actions.

  • Your emotions may be triggered by a word, a smell, a sound, and another’s mannerisms.

  • You may feel an ‘altered’ sense of self.

  • Feel stigmatised, clingy, intolerant, helpless, different and/or needy.

  • Feel you are ‘putting’ your fears and/or emotions on friends and colleagues.

 

Phew there's so many emotions, thoughts, sensing ...... 

YES this is how a bereft person will feel after someone they loved completed suicide.

 

  • Forget to ‘care’ for self as your emotions overwhelm you in waves you can’t stop.

  • Regret what words you spoke or didn’t speak between you immediately before they took their life or over the whole course of your relationship.

  • Feeling guilty because your loved one seemed to be ‘better’ in the days before they completed suicide and you thought the crisis was over or they were getting better in themselves.  It is very common behaviour for your loved one to seem better in the days before simply because they found their own answer and had made a decision on what to do – i.e. Complete suicide. YOU are not a mind reader you couldn’t have known.

  • You may feel relief in some way that the crisis is over and the situation is no more and guilty for feeling relief.

  • Thinking you didn’t ask the ‘right’ questions which you now think would have ‘saved’ your loved one from completing suicide.There are no right questions!

  • Not visiting places you went with your loved one.

  • Or constantly visiting place you once went together to ‘find’ them there still believing the unthinkable hasn’t happened at all.

  • Avoiding the place your loved one completed suicide.

  • Having panic attacks when you think of the way they died.

  • Adopting some of the behaviours of your loved one.

  • ‘Seeing’ your loved one in horrific situations.

  • Seeing your loved one walking down the street the image is so real you may run after them only to find a complete stranger who looked a little like them.

  • Not wanting to go with the flow of life.

  • Not wanting to go to the inquest; feeling nauseas at the thought.

  • Wanting to protect other family members from the police reports.

  • Not wanting to hear the words at the inquest.

  • Not wanting to ‘see’ the pictures.

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