Coping with the Suicide of a Friend
Coping with the suicide of a friend is one of the most excruciating, incomprehensible things a person can experience. It leaves behind a wound that will seemingly never heal. Read on for some information on how to cope with the suicide of a friend.
Coping with Suicide and Grief
There is no one-size-fits-all way to grieve for a friend who died by suicide or to deal with that grief, but there are some things you can do to take care of yourself during the darkness.
Reach Out to a Friend or Family Member
When trying to cope with a friend’s suicide, nothing is worse than being alone with your thoughts and memories. When grief takes you over, reach out to someone you love. Distracting yourself can ease your pain, if only for a little while.
Emulate the Person’s Goodness
The best way to remember and honor your loved one is to keep his or her goodness alive. Show the people in your own life the same kindness, love, and compassion that person showed you.
Acknowledge Your Grief
We will all have to grieve for someone we love at some point in our lives. Don’t shy away from that pain. Grief doesn't make you weak, it makes you human. In the words of John Green, “It hurts because it matters.”
Try Not to Obsess Over the Reason Why
"Why did they do it?" is always the burning question when it comes to suicide. Often, it's one that goes unanswered. In many cases, there is no answer. Suicide, especially in those with mental illness, can strike without warning or reason, just like a terminal illness. Letting the reason why consume you will only bring about more anguish.
In this week's video, I talk about how I've coped with the recent suicide of a friend, and what the grieving process taught me.
In loving memory of Dale Folwer. Thank you for lighting up my life.
Lee-Smith, M. (2017, June 14). Coping with the Suicide of a Friend, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, June 3 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/mentalhealthforthedigitalgeneration/2017/06/coping-with-a-friends-suicide
Author: Mel Lee-Smith
Thank you, Mel and Tanya. It’s hard to know how to feel or stop wondering why. Both your comments have been extremely helpful. Sometimes you need structure or a plan when just sitting in shock with sadness when a great person is suddenly no more.
I am dealing with the suicide of a kind 43 year old male neighbor that I spoke with 3 days before he died. It seems that most people I speak with can't understand the pain that I feel and suggest I try to forget/not feel this horrible pain. Even though I was not a part of his family, this loss is immense since he had begun to interact and spend time conversing and texting me. No other neighbor had taken interest in my plight as a single woman taking care of her 98 year old mom. He was incredibly intelligent, and don't understand why he would do this.
I am so very sorry for your loss. And it is indeed a loss for you despite how some people are responding to you. Suicide is a painful, confusing thing that no one ever fully understands. When people tell you to forget or not feel the pain, know that this has more to do with their own discomfort and personal feelings than it does with you or your neighbor who died by suicide. Your own feelings are legitimate. It's important to honor how you feel and allow yourself to experience the thoughts and emotions you do. It's also important for you to have the right kind of support during this time, people who can help you deal with your own grief and move forward in meaningful ways. Moving forward doesn't mean forgetting. It means being able to embrace your own life while still remembering your friend and doing things to honor his memory. There may be grief support groups in your area (a google search or checking meetup .com may help you locate some). Mental health therapy can be extremely helpful in dealing with a loss like this (as well as the challenges of being a single mom and caring for your own elderly mother). There's a great online organization called Heal Grief (healgrief.org) that might be a source of support and understanding for you, too. (HealthyPlace is not connected to Heal Grief.)There may never be an answer as to why he died by suicide, but support groups and/or therapy can help bring some clarity and closure. Do be patient with yourself in this difficult time, and, while this is easier said than done, practice self-care. Eating healthily, sleeping and resting, and even a little bit of daily exercise (a walk around the block) will help keep your brain and body healthy. That sounds silly in a time like this, but it supports your mind in dealing with grief and loss.
Thank you do much for the post and especially video. It felt as if you were talking about the same kind of person I knew. We had lost contact shortly after college, now it's been 4+ years since then. To me it's particularly triggering because she helped me when I was at my darkest... It feels now as though I could've returned the favor... . . . .
Thank you for your comment. I have felt this way, too. Grief is such a complicated emotion to deal with, especially when you mix guilt with it. Just know that you're not responsible for your friend's death by suicide. I don't know if it will ever feel like a fully healed wound, but I'm learning that's okay, too.
Thank you for sharing this. So many people go through this and it is really hard to understand how you should feel or how you will move forward. It can not only affect your mental health, but physical as well. It takes a real toll on your life and you will have many sleepless nights. However, your tips are amazing. These will definitely get you through any struggle of losing a friend. It may be hard, however you are not alone. Again, thanks for sharing.
Thank you for your comment, Charlotte. It's definitely not an easy thing to deal with. I'm glad you found this post useful, and I really appreciate your support.