Who is a suicide survivor?
Family and friends of a person who commits suicide are considered suicide survivors. You should know that there are millions of survivors in this country alone since approximately 33,000 people in the U.S. commit suicide each year.
What to expect as a survivor?
Suicide is very profound phenomenon. So, it is not surprising that survivors typically experience a rollercoaster of powerful emotions. These usually consist of shock, guilt, anger, despair and sometimes relief especially if the suicide was a result of a long-standing and debilitating mental/physical illness. It is important to realize that different people experience different proportions of these feelings.
How to cope as a survivor?
The following can be used as coping strategies:
· Allow yourself to grieve: You want to grieve on your own pace and your own terms. There is no right or wrong way to grieve as long as you take care of yourself. It’s important to freely express your feelings including those of abandonment. Please try your best to be rational about your guilt.
· Accept suicide as a fact: Denial is usually not helpful. Social stigma also inhibits people from openly talking about a loved one’s suicide. Talking about and processing the details and circumstances of suicide may be helpful.
· Lean on Family and Friends: they are usually the biggest support in the time of grieving. So please don’t hesitate to ask for any kind of help.
· Be prepared for anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays: These times are especially painful for survivors. You should anticipate this and surround yourself with extra support ahead of time.
· Engage in community and religious/spiritual activities: This is a good way to find inner peace and solace.
· Rediscover a healthy lifestyle: Engaging in regular exercise, eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep, and broadening your interest can all be very helpful.
· Join a self-help support group: This may be helpful in gaining hope and understanding.
· When to seek professional help: When the grief cripples you to an extent that you develop severe depression, panic attacks, or psychosis you should waste no time in seeking a mental health professional. Also, if your physical health suffers drastically, you should immediately consult your family doctor.