Dealing with the Suicide of a Loved One

October 17, 2016  |  By Mélissa Dauby, France


Photo : By Sérgio Valle Duarte - Own work

Psychiatrists say that dealing with grief and loss is composed of five stages : denial and isolation; anger; bargaining; depression and acceptance. Losing a loved one is one of the worst events that could ever occur in someone’s life and the process of grief can be different for each individual but everyone goes through those five steps. However, when it comes to suicide, those five stages can be a little bit altered by the circumstances: you didn't lose the person to a sickness or to old age. You just weren’t prepared to say goodbye to this person.

Suicide has always been a hard topic for people to talk about: how can people take their own life? What came to their head ? They could have work it out …etc…Losing my father to suicide a little bit over a year ago, I’ve heard all of that, I thought all of that too. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is never easy.

Suicide have been brought to the main stage a lot during the last years but I feel like we always talk about how to prevent it and not enough about how to deal with it if it ever happens in your entourage. As far as my experience goes, I could say that the stages established by the psychiatrists are not exactly what I went through, or any of my family and friends.

During all of these steps, when it comes to suicide, you feel like you’re responsible for their death and it is only when you finally come to term with that and realise you couldn’t save the person that you start feeling better. Dealing with suicide is something nobody should have to deal with but if it is the case, I would advise everyone to talk about it: don’t keep the pain to yourself, talk to someone whether it is your friends, your family or a professional. Of course, at the beginning you will struggle talking about it but you can always express yourself by writing or making music etc.

I feel like the most important thing is to keep your mind occupied in order not to fall into depression. One thing I would like to tell everyone going through this is don’t give up : even if it seems awful right now and it is, you will overcome it. You couldn’t save that person but you can save yourself: stay strong, fight for you and for them. Collapsing in tears once in a while doesn’t make you weak, it just means you're human and sometimes feelings take over. And of course sometimes, most of the time to be honest, you will miss the person and you might even be worried to forget about everything: the memories, their voice, their laugh.

But I can say that you will never forget but you need to only keep the best from all of it: do not hold to the bad memories and focus on the good. Dealing with the suicide of a loved one is hard, but you will recover.

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