No matter how the news comes or exactly how a loved one died, questions surrounding guilt and blame can haunt a survivor's mind, sometimes returning again and again.
Did I cause this to happen? Could I have prevented it? What would have made a difference?
It is human nature to look for reasons, cause and effect, and others to blame. Even when we know why (automobile accident, cancer, heart disease), our thoughts can tumble toward guilt or blame aimed directly at ourselves or others ... and away from the harsh reality of the loss itself, which is the most difficult to face.
When the "why" question is not as clear, as in traumatic loss to suicide, these feelings can be magnified, yet there are things we can do to understand why we feel this way and how we can calm these thoughts. Find support. Get professional help. Remind yourself that you did not have complete control.
We are only human. Trying to help a loved one through extreme challenges is not something love alone can manage. Even mental health experts are blindsided at times and cannot predict suicide with reliability.
Perhaps you had no idea that your loved one was struggling. Connect with others who share similar experiences. People who are further along on this journey will have valuable insights to share. They will listen without tiring.
Every day, millions of people remember precious loved ones they have lost this way. Don't let the undeserved stigma that sometimes surrounds suicide keep you in isolation.
You are not alone.
Look for my fact sheet Battling Guilt and Regret on the Resources page. You can find it under How to Survive Traumatic Loss.
Way for Hope
Losing someone you love is difficult, but it can mean a lot to hear from others traveling similar paths.
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Links of Value:
Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Word of God
"My Story" Big Daddy Weave
"Hope in Front of Me"
The Joy FM
Traumatic loss or preexisting conditions can worsen mental health. Use this info graphic to find help.
"Take Charge of Your Mental Health" - a free download from www.nami.org: