How to Heal from a Suicide – Help and Guidance

I know that suicide is a very difficult subject and extremely painful for those of us left behind.  I know it brings little solace but it is not as unique a tragedy as we might think.  Clear back in the year 2000 the World Health Organization estimated that there is one death by suicide in the world every 40 seconds, and one attempt every 3 seconds.

Why do people commit suicide?

Accidents:

  • Many are simply accidental deaths.  There are numerous ways a person can just accidentally go to far.    Pain medication or tranquilizers can leave the person in a state of confusion, and quite frankly  they may simply forget they have already taken more than one dose,  and overdose themselves unintentionally.  This is usually the case, especially when there is no note or indication of any trauma in their lives or thinking.
  • Some mix alcohol and medication which intensifies the effect exponentially.  Unbeknownst to them  mixtures such as alcohol and Xanax can quickly lead to full cardiac and respiratory arrest.
  • Those who are experienced drug users who may for example take heroin,  or other opiates may simply unknowingly take too strong of a dose over and beyond what their body is used to.   Their systems simply shut down as a result of an overload of chemicals entering their blood stream.   This is why we often hear sad tales of promising young celebrities for example, (but not the only ones of course), passing away in hotel rooms from drug overdose.  Unfamiliar with the area they are staying, they somehow are able to procure their drug of choice.  They simply do not realize that once obtained, it is at a much higher strength or potency then their body is used to.  They ingest it or take it  one way or another, and then sadly are gone.Two factors, together, can lead to intentional suicide.
    • Intolerable mental pain (psychache)
    • With the idea of death to escape it.

Planned:

  • The suicidal person’s day to day life is not like ours.  Far from it, they are suffering an intolerable level of pain which pervades their every waking moment.  It is a flat, dull and very dark place that is scary and intense.  They can’t talk about it often because they simply don’t have the energy to do so.
  • They are continually tormented by negative thoughts about themselves.   In their mind they feel neither lovable or worthy of rescue.  They truly believe that death is the only way out.  Their world is an unmanageable place of torment.  They absolutely do not think that there is anyone or anything that can help them anymore.
  • They usually cannot:  sleep,  eat,  remember,  function or focus on basic tasks of life because of unrelenting guilt, shame, or other intolerable and amplified feelings.   Their awareness is blunted and crushed.  As opposed to a full dimensional thinking person, their world  becomes dull and meaningless to them.  It is a spiritually painful place to be.
  • Morning does not bring a promise of a new day, but rather another day of agony to somehow get through.
  • For survivors of suicide, remember your friend or loved one was  not trying to punish anyone.  For those left behind it is important to remember that the person’s intent was relief from unrelenting pain.
  • When a person is consumed with this torment they simply aren’t thinking of anything or anyone else. Period.
  • They want to make the intolerable agony stop. They are so over wrought they simply don’t have the energy or wherewithal  to ask for help…even from the closest of friends, or family members.   In fact they may feel shame to do so, further amplifying their pain and embarrassment.  It is not a condition they want others to know about.  No one wants to be thought of as weak or off balance.
  • These poor souls are a victim of a chemical imbalance in the brain and run away emotions that never cease tormenting them.
  • No spirit has ever relayed to me that they really thought suicide was the right thing to do.  Nor did they ever say – Ha ha!  Now so and so will feel guilty forever.  Good!
  • Nothing could be further from the truth.  Anyone who I have ever talked with who has taken their life realizes fully and quite deeply the trauma and pain they have caused  their loved ones and friends.  They feel and hear every cry for help, each tear, all the pain of their family and friends combined very clearly and precisely.  It is with this unbearable feeling they eagerly come to me in spirit and ask to please, please help their family heal and also to  somehow help them to please get over “the incident”.
  • No spirit ever likes to talk about the exact moment.  It is painful and they don’t want to inflict anymore pain on anyone.  These are memories that need to be erased.
  • No spirit has ever said to me that a survivor of suicide should spend the rest of their days feeling intense guilt agonizing over how they could of saved them.
  • As I have said before no one, absolutely no one wins when we declare war on ourselves.  This includes the suicide victim and the survivors.


DO NOT, 
I beg of you, torment yourself with an endless cycle of undeserved guilt or shame.   Don’t allow yourself to be consumed by any thoughts that begin like this…

  •  I should of..
  •  I could of..
  • How could I have…
  • Why didn’t they call me…
  • I should of picked up the phone…
  • I should of answered that text…
  • I should of realized…
  • It’s my fault because…
  • Am I the reason…
  • If only…
  • If these kinds of thoughts are coming up and they often do –  Give yourself a chance.  Break away from that cycle of thought and talk to someone who can listen compassionately and help you through this.
  • After such intense trauma and loss, you deserve a chance for peace and healing.  Make sure you seek out professional assistance.  It is not a sign of weakness.
  • You deserve to be a friend to yourself in this incredibly painful time.    It is a sign of wanting to heal.
  • Love yourself and the person who has passed away enough to want to try and regain little by little your life back.  Of course it will take time, and a lot of it.  But it is better to try and heal than spend the rest of your life in utter turmoil.  Don’t waste away your precious days on earth thinking about what could of been, but what will be.
  • If you continue to torment yourself, you are denying yourself your own life.  This is always completely the opposite of what the soul who passed on wants you to do.  They want you to try and heal, and try to somehow understand and forgive them.  It is a step that one MUST take in order to live.

 

There is a resource kindly produced and provided by the American Association of Suicidology. It is a PDF booklet for people who have lost a loved one  to suicide, written by someone who has suffered the same loss.

Please feel free to download it and use it to help yourself or others overcome the traumatic loss of a loved one or friend due to suicide.

 

Download:
Survivors of Suicide – SOS – Handbook

Counseling:
Every hospice in America has a duty and moral obligation to provide you with help if you are suffering from the loss of a loved one.  Regardless if you have ever even had a family member be a patient, or don’t have any financial resources, they will help you to find a counselor or group of survivors.

Suggested Reading:

Dying to Be Free:  A Healing Guide for Families after a Suicide – Beverly Cobain, Jean Larch.  (Note:  This book was written by Curt Cobain’s mom.  He was the lead singer of Nirvana.)

Understanding Your Suicide Grief:  Ten Essential Touchstones for Finding Hope and Healing Your Heart – Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.

No Time to Say Goodbye:  Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One:  Carla Fine

Healing Your Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas – Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.

The Afterlife of Billy Fingers:  How my Bad-Boy Brother Proved to Me There’s Life After Death – Annie Kagan. (Not about suicide, but brings glimpses of the after-life from a highly believable and probable source.)

Guiding Your Child Through Grief  by Mary Ann Emswiler

My Son…My Son: A Guide to Healing After a Suicide in the Family by Iris Bolton and Curtis Mitchell

An Empty Chair: Living in the Wake of a Sibling’s Suicide  by Sara Swan Miller

Do They Have Bad Days in Heaven?: Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Sibling by Michelle Linn-Gust

Trying to Remember, Forced to Forget (My Father’s Suicide) by Judy Raphael Kletter

 

May God bless you, and bring much needed relief and healing to you. 

 Diane Eileen

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