When a loved one commits suicide, the emotions are intense and overwhelming. Heartbreaking grief can be juxtaposed with feelings of relief for some who have dealt with mental illness, addiction, or destructive behaviors. Family members and friends are often consumed by guilt as they wonder if they could have done something to prevent the death. The fallout after a loved one’s suicide can be particularly physically and emotionally exhausting.
Deiter F. Uchtdorf
From the Editors Desk
There is no easy solution for helping someone who has thoughts about suicide.
From Our Experience
Brace for Powerful Emotions
A loved one’s suicide can trigger intense emotions. For example:
- Shock. Disbelief and emotional numbness might set in. You might think that your loved one’s suicide couldn’t possibly be real.
- Anger. You might be angry with your loved one for abandoning you or leaving you with a legacy of grief — or angry with yourself or others for missing clues about suicidal intentions.
- Guilt. You might replay “what if” and “if only” scenarios in your mind, blaming yourself for your loved one’s death.
- Despair. You might be gripped by sadness, loneliness or helplessness. You might have a physical collapse or even consider suicide yourself.
You might continue to experience intense reactions during the weeks and months after your loved one’s suicide — including nightmares, flashbacks, difficulty concentrating, social withdrawal and loss of interest in usual activities — especially if you witnessed or discovered the suicide.