How to Survive a Suicide
When an officer decides to take his own life there are a lot of factors that are involved. There are feelings of depression, anxiety, hopelessness, fear; feeling trapped, lost, overwhelmed, helpless and cannot see any other way out.
Most people that commit suicide do not let others know what their intentions are. The person does not want to die but instead is in great pain and wants the pain to stop. Suicide seems to be the only answer that will end the pain.
Unfortunately, while the person that committed suicide is no longer suffering, the survivor’s suffering has just begun.
How can you survive after someone you care for commits suicide?
Suicide is not like any other death. It’s a decision, sudden, traumatic, sometimes violent, and comes with it many emotions such as guilt, shame, fear, anger, shock, disbelief, a sense of responsibility (why didn’t I see his/her pain, how did I not know, what could I have done?) and maybe even an understanding of the actions that were taken and why.
The simple truth is that every one of the emotions you feel are valid and a part of the grieving process.
The grieving process will be very different for each person. The is no right way to grieve nor is there a right length of time to grieve. It is as individual as we all are.
Here are some tips to help you get through the grieving process in the next few days, weeks, months and years after a suicide
Stop and take care of yourself! Most officers are use to carrying on with business as usual despite what is going on around or inside of them.
Acknowledge your feelings regardless of what they may be. Pushing your feelings down only creates depression and anxiety and compounds the issues for you and those around you.
Do not isolate yourself. Talk to your family, friends, coworkers and others that are dealing with the same grief as you.
Stick to your healthy routines or take this time start ones such as exercising, eating healthy, getting more sleep, or spending time with those in your life.
Find ways to honor the deceased person and keep them close to you.
Find ways to forgive those that need forgiveness as well as forgiving the person that committed suicide. This may include forgiving yourself.
Limit drugs and alcohol use during the grieving process. Drugs and alcohol will compound depression and suicidal thoughts.
Be there and serve the other survivors or family members during this time.
Get help. There is no shame in talking to a therapist and dealing with the issues and feelings going on. It is a sign of strength to reach out to others and we were not designed to do this life alone. We need each other.
If you feel suicidal please reach out to those around you or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline @ 1.800.273.8255
Remember the person that committed suicide felt alone. YOU DON'T HAVE TO!
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