When a loved one dies by suicide there are often different reactions to someone who has died by other means.
Most suicides come unexpectedly to loved ones and cause a variety of emotions and thoughts. Often there is a period of shock after the sudden death and the normal that was felt before seems like it can never be found again. Your body can go through periods of having high energy or where you can’t get yourself out of bed for the day. Also, if you were the one who found your loved one that can cause a great deal of post-traumatic stress that can bring flashbacks or nightmares or making you feel hypervigilant or on edge.
Why did my loved one do this? Why didn’t they come to me? Why didn’t I see the signs? Why did they not get help? Most of these questions are unanswerable but that doesn’t mean you won’t find yourself asking them. It is normal to want answers and to try and make some sense of the heartache you feel.
Anger is often prevalent after a suicide. Anger at the person who took their life. Anger at family members or friends for not helping before it was too late. Anger at yourself for not doing enough or recognizing the signs. Or anger toward God or a High Power for not intervening. Anger is a normal human reaction that most survivors feel at some point in their grief journey.
Why Won’t People Talk to Me?
It is also common for family or friends of a survivor to not know how to engage in conversation about the loved one that died. It can cause people to feel anxious, worried, or confused and so they may avoid a survivor all together. Sometimes the person you thought would be there for you is not and sometimes someone you least expected can become a great support to you. Just because people do not want to talk about how your loved one died does not mean you cannot. Many survivors find it helpful to acknowledge how their loved one died.
The Guilt Loop
Guilt is another predominate emotion that many survivors feel. This could be for things that were said or not said. For thinking you should have done more or acted differently. For feeling relief after the death. It can also come when you find yourself feeling happy or when you find yourself not thinking about your loved one. Because you can feel guilty for feeling happy many people feel like they are stuck in this loop of guilt that they can’t get out of it.