Three Things Those Affected By Suicide Should Know
There are three things those affected by suicide should know. When someone makes that heart-rending painful final decision to end his/her life, those left behind suffer from horrific grief and loss. Guilt is common, as is depression, anger, and denial. In order to help with that pain, here are three things those affected by suicide should know.
Affected By Suicide? Know It Was Not Your Fault.
Many times people blame themselves for their loved one's suicide. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your loved one had an illness and succumbed to it. You wouldn't blame yourself if you lost a loved one to cancer or heart disease. So why should suicide be any different? The vast majority of people who committed suicide were suffering from a very real psychiatric condition, a chemical imbalance in the brain (Adult Symptoms of Mental Health Disorders). They simply succumbed to an illness of the mind.
Sometimes this false guilt has a basis in reality, such as a homophobic parent whose gay child committed suicide. I lost a friend after he had a fight with his father. In these cases, it is important for the survivor of traumatic bereavement to remember that suicide is a choice made by the person who commits it. While there may or may not be contributing external factors, suicide is always a choice that a person makes. Usually this person feels their loved ones would be better off without them and wants to spare their loved ones further pain. In the rare cases where this is not true, the person wants to spare themselves unbearable pain and doesn't want to let their loved ones watch them suffer. Suicide is an irrational decision that a sick mind has rationalized.
Affected By Suicide? Know That Suicide Victims Don't Go to Hell.
This is a common belief that does not appear anywhere in the Bible. In fact, while the Bible often records suicides (six if I recall correctly), it never comments on the act. It simply states the person died by his own hand, usually when they were going to die anyway and wanted to spare themselves further pain.
The belief that a person who commits suicide goes to Hell originated under St. Augustine, who was frustrated with a suicide cult within Christianity. The cult believed martyrdom was a commandment and frequently tried to get people to kill them. St. Augustine was trying to protect the survival of the Church. He was not dealing with mental illness.
The Bible says that God is just. In our criminal justice system, mental illness is considered when deciding the fate of a defendant. Our criminal justice system frequently is not just. If our flawed, imperfect criminal justice system considers mental illness a mitigating factor, how much more will a perfectly just God do so?
If You Are Affected By Suicide, There Is No Reason Why.
You will never find the reason why your loved one committed suicide. You will, in time, come to terms with a partial answer, even if it is something as basic as "He was going into a manic episode." Many times the person who actually committed suicide doesn't know why he/she is doing it at the time--they only know they are overwhelmed and that suicide seems like the answer to unbearable circumstances. So there is no reason why.
This does not mean the survivors should not struggle with a search for a reason. That's a natural and normal part of grieving (Coping With Loss: Bereavement And Grief). The grief of those affected by suicide is unique in that there's a search for a reason why, but the truth is there is no reason. Somehow we must content ourselves with either a lifting of the need to know why or a partial answer to that question. We must, as one survivor observed, wear out our questions to come to terms with them.
Oberg, B. (2015, November 30). Three Things Those Affected By Suicide Should Know, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2015/11/three-things-those-affected-by-suicide-should-know
Author: Becky Oberg
She called the police on another line and reported me. An ambulance was dispatched to my home. She was on the phone with me the whole time, talking to me in quiet and understanding tones. She told me everything would be alright and eventually it was.
Almost 2 years later I met the most wonderful man who understood me like no other and helped me beat the major depression that plagued me for years. He and I are still together battling other mental illnesses that I have. If I had succeeded in killing myself I would never had met him and would have never known love and what life really had in store for me.
At the time all I could see that life had in store for me was pain and anguish and abusive relationships. You get tunnel vision with depression and can't look toward the future with hope only complete despair.