David’s Counselling

Counselling and Psychotherapy in Epsom, Surrey, and Online

Ewell, Worcester Park, Raynes Park, Ashtead, Leatherhead, Tadworth and Oxshott.

Ewell, Worcester Park, Raynes Park, Ashtead, Leatherhead, Tadworth and Banstead

Losing someone through suicide

The grief we feel when someone close to us dies through suicide shares many characteristics with other bereavements but in many ways it is also very different. The grief you feel may last a lot longer and be much harder for you to come to terms with for a variety of reasons.

How suicide grief is different

Suicide is usually sudden, often unexpected and sometimes violent. These factors may affect the shock and trauma that you feel compared to other forms of bereavement. Aside from the normal feelings associated with the death of a loved one you may also be feeling guilty, ashamed, regret and disbelief.

You are not just coming to terms with your loss, you may also be struggling with the way that your loved one has died. All of these feelings combined can make dealing with grief from suicide much harder for you and friends and family to make sense of.

There is also a social stigma around suicide, which may make you feel unable to process your grief in the usual way as people find it harder to speak about suicide. This can leave you feeling isolated and wanting to withdraw and hide, making it harder for you to reach out and come to terms with your feelings.

Culture and religion may also play a part in preventing you from processing your grief. Some cultures and religions do not accept death by suicide in the way that a normal death is accepted, often limiting the rituals associated with mourning a loved one. You may even be expected to deny that the death was by suicide. This again, can leave you feeling even more isolated, perhaps a feeling of confinement and unable to seek support in the normal way to help you though your grief.

How to cope with suicide grief

It is important that you adopt health coping strategies to help you come to terms with your loss. Reach out to loved ones, and trusted friends for support and understanding. Talking about your loss is important and although friends and family may feel uncomfortable about talking about suicide, you need to attempt to talk through the feelings and emotions you are having in your own time and at your own pace.

Your religion or culture may prevent you from grieving in a traditional way, so finding your own personal ways to grieve will help you make sense of your feelings and attempt to start the grieving process. Create lasting memories, or visiting a place that was special to you and your loved one may help you mourn their loss by having a personal space to grieve and remember.

Be prepared for significant dates, like events, music and places that were important to your loved one and accept that these will be more difficult to work through, and may evoke powerful feelings and be painful reminders of their passing. Make sure you are prepared for these events of times by discussing your feelings beforehand, or rescheduling them until you feel strong enough to cope.

Above all, talking about suicide and suicide grief is hugely important in helping you come to terms with your loss, no matter how stigmatised suicide is. You will have more questions, ‘survivor questions’ that you will need to talk through if you are going to integrate your loss into your life moving forward.

This could be through friends or family, online support groups or one of the many national charities that deals with grief such as Cruse Bereavement Care, or Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) , which offers support specifically with suicide.

If you are struggling with any issues around grief and suicide, and want a safe, confidential space to talk them through, I am here to offer personalised loss and grief counselling in Epsom, Surrey, and online. Please do get in touch at any time.

©2023 David Campbell

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