September will be National Suicide Prevention Month.
To begin the month we’d like to first focus on those who have suffered the loss of a loved one.
First of all, I’m so sorry about what happened. It doesn’t matter whether it was a friend, a spouse, another family, member, a co-worker, or somebody else you knew, when someone takes his or her life, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by emotions. If you’re not already feeling those emotions, know that you probably will at some point. We all grieve in our ways and in our own time.
Do know that you’re not alone in what you’re feeling, and you don’t have to go through it by yourself. If you’re feeling guilt or wondering if you could have done something to keep the death from happening, know that it wasn’t your fault.
Depending upon your relationship with the person who died, you may be in shock and denial. You may be angry with the person for taking his or her life, or with yourself for not preventing the death. Perhaps you feel confused, struggling to understand why someone would die by suicide. You may be feeling overwhelmingly sad or lonely. You could even be feeling that the person who died was rejecting you and your relationship. At times, you may have a tough time concentrating on daily life. You may not want to be around other people.
All of those feelings are common, and they may continue for weeks, months or even years. Again, we each grieve in our own ways, and it is healthy to give yourself permission to react in the way that’s right for you. There is no reason to rush yourself or give in to thoughts or comments like “It’s been two months. You need to get over it.” Only you know how you feel. Grief is the language of love, and it is healthy to grieve.
I do have some suggestions though. Perhaps one or some may help.
First, take care of yourself. Sleep is paramount. Without sleep our bodies do not function properly and our emotions lead us to a dark place. Make sure you keep eating and choose healthy foods. Get regular exercise, even if it’s only a quiet walk through a park. Paying attention to your physical well-being will help you with the emotional side. Reach out to close friends and family. Have people you can turn to who are willing to listen to have you have to say, or who won’t be threatened when you prefer to stay silent. If you are a regular churchgoer, make sure your pastor is aware of what you’re going through, because he or she will be able to help you find the resources you need, like a support group.
If time is passing and you don’t feel like your grief is progressing, if you believe you’re becoming overwhelmed by depression, or if you are thinking about hurting yourself in any way, please reach out to a mental health professional like one of our counselors. There’s no shame in asking for help. We all need it at times. You can also text 741741 for help. The people who respond don’t want to judge you … they just want to guide you to the help you need.
You may never understand what led the person to take his or her life, and thoughts of the person may always sadden you (especially at times like holidays and other special events you shared), but in time, you’ll be able to reach a sense of peace.
Contact us if you’d like to schedule a time to talk more.