Strength to Carry On After a Suicide
Suicide is one of the most profound emotional shocks to bear. Whether the death is in the family, or within a circle of friends, the aftershocks continue long after the death has occurred. Depression and further suicides often follow. Without counseling or other forms of support, a suicide can do major emotional damage to everyone who comes in emotional range of the death, including susceptible strangers. Getting support for yourself and for those around you after a suicide occurs isn’t just good sense, it’s almost something to consider a health necessity.
About Suicide and Suicide Counseling
- The long shadow of suicide
- Lifting the burden, allowing the anger
- Stopping the cycle
- Moving on
Suicide: The Damage Done
A common justification for suicide is the argument that it’s not hurting anyone but the person themselves. Unfortunately, this argument is false. Long after a suicide has been committed, the aftermath continues to spread throughout the community, and in some cases far beyond, triggering depression, grief, and often more suicides, in a continuing cycle of death and mourning.
Suicide is a primary indicator of further suicides within a family, a circle of friends, a neighborhood, a school, a county, and more. Those associated with suicides are at higher risk of depression, unresolved grief, anger issues, and low self-esteem. The occurrence of a suicide does extensive damage to the web of relationships between family and friends. Suicide, like an illness, kills, spreads, and causes collateral damage.
The Value of Timely Treatment
The damage done by suicide is limited most effectively when suicide is addressed quickly and directly by skilled, compassionate individuals experienced in helping others manage grief and anger. Among the professions that often offer such skilled counsel are clergy, crisis counselors, and grief counselors. One of the primary functions of immediate counseling is to help assuage guilt, help process mourning, and permit anger. After a suicide those surviving often feel a complex and confusing array of emotions, many of which feel “inappropriate.” Anger at the suicide victim, anger at themselves, resentment of family and cultural elements which may have contributed to the suicide’s action – these threatening feelings mix with guilt, grief, uncertainty, and more, forming a potent brew.
In many cases, there can be no clear, coherent resolution – so counselors help those who have survived the loss create their own resolutions, freeing them from the bondage left by an untimely and disturbing death.
Preventing the Spread
There is no known way to ensure that the effects of suicide aren’t played out further, throughout the community and down the generations. Counselors can, however, attempt to contain the damage by educating survivors on the nature of the suicide cycle, and the degree to which the damage can spread. Knowledge and anger can combined to help ensure that those who might otherwise be vulnerable have the tools and knowledge to refuse to take part in the ripple effect.
By reducing the number of “suicide vectors” left active in the aftermath of a suicide, counselors and communities can at least attempt to moderate the long-term damage inflicted by a suicidal death.
Living In Hope and Courage
After the immediate crisis has passed, counselors can help survivors find the strength and courage to develop new meaning in their lives, finding wisdom rather than despair after having faced such a bitter loss. The process of healing can be long. For many, the process never entirely ends: those most shattered by the loss of a loved one may return over and over again throughout their lives to the issues raised by the death.
Finding help and support for the long term can help enormously. The security and guidance offered can make a difference in the ability of those most hurt to heal, and live full, rich, joyful lives again, in defiance of a suicidal death.