Grief and the grieving process following the suicide of a loved one can be particularly profound. Indeed, medical professionals have a term for the level of grief a person may face when they have lost a family member or friends as the result of a suicide death. It is known as complicated grief. With that said, following the loss of a person close to you as the result of death by suicide, there are steps you can take in order to grieve and express your grief.
Understanding Complicated Grief
The death by suicide of a loved one oftentimes is so sudden, shocking, and profoundly disturbing that it triggers a condition known as complicated grief. In essential terms, complicated grief is a situation in which the sorrow and pain of your loss remain unresolved. It doesn’t ease up over time. This can work to prevent you from resuming your own life and relationships.
You may struggle to focus on anything else but your grief. You likely feel numb, detached, and empty. In fact, you may be unable to accept your loved one’s death. Some people experiencing complicated grief following the suicide death of a loved one may themselves begin to feel that life isn’t worth living.
Complicated grief can also lead to:
- Major depression
- Psychological trauma
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD can is more commonplace following the suicide death of a loved one that you might imagine. PTSD is exemplified by being plagued with intrusive thoughts, upsetting emotions, and a persistent anxiety. This prevents you from being able to function normally and carry out your routines of daily living.
The bottom line is that if you experience complicated grief in the aftermath of the death by suicide of someone close to you, consider seeking professional mental health assistance and support. In addition, contemplate employing or embracing some of the techniques and strategies presented to you in this article.
Grieve in Your Own Way
Time and again, a person grieving the loss of a loved one receives what oftentimes is unsolicited advice from others about how to work through grief. There are plenty of instances in which some one or another will pontificate to grieving individual that they have a foolproof way to master the grieving process.
Any one who makes a pronouncement of that nature is wrong and simply does not know what he or she is speaking about when it comes to grief and grieving. The bottom line is that we all grieve in our own way and time. This includes people who have experienced the tragic loss of a death by suicide of a primary person in their lives.
Allow Yourself to Feel and Express Your Emotions
A common response to the loss of a loved one by a suicide death is to hold back feelings and not express emotions. They feel the need to hold back feelings and to contain emotions because they fear having to address in uncomfortable detail how and why their loved one died. They fear having to answer uncomfortable questions.
The bottom line is you have every right to allow yourself to feel and to express your emotions. You also every right to be limited on what you share with others regarding the circumstances of your grief and other feelings. An appropriate explanation, if you choose to offer one, is that someone close to you died.
Remember Your Loved One’s Life Was About More Than Their Death
A commonplace scenario after the death of a person by suicide is for loved ones to focus on that individual’s passing. When you lose a loved one by suicide, try to start the process of remembering the whole of your loved one’s life and not just how it ended. This may take some time to get to that point – but, ultimately, this is how you can best memorialize the life of your loved one … by remembering that life more broadly or in its entirety.
Understand the Importance of Self-Care
When grieving the death of a loved one, you always need to be certain that you focus on your own self-care. This means everything from eating properly to exercise to getting appropriate rest to doing things you enjoy (as you feel like doing). No matter how a beloved person died, effectively working through your own grief process is best accomplished when you give yourself the chance to undertake a full spectrum of self-care.
Reach Out for Support
You are not alone when you lose a loved one through death by suicide. The sad reality is that suicide deaths are so common in this day and age, you undoubtedly have other people in your life who have been through the grief process in the aftermath of a suicide death.