People of all ages complete suicide; men and women, as well as young children; the rich as well as the poor. No one is immune to this tragedy.
Why would anyone willingly hasten or cause his or her own death? Mental Health Professionals who have been searching for years for an answer to that question generally agree that people who took their own lives felt trapped by what they saw as a hopeless situation. Whatever the reality, whatever the emotional support provided, they felt isolated and cut off from life, friendship, etc. Even if no physical illness was present, suicide victims felt intense pain, anguish, and hopelessness. John Hewett, author of After Suicide, says “He or she probably wasn’t choosing death as much as choosing to end this unbearable pain.”
Were there financial burdens that couldn’t be met? Marriage or family problems? Divorce? Scholastic goals that weren’t achieved? Loss of a special friendship? The death of a close friend or spouse? A combination of these or other circumstances could have precipitated suicide, or it could have been a response to a physiological depression. Although many people face similar problems and overcome them, your loved one could find no solution other than death.
But sometimes there are no apparent causes. No matter how long and hard you search for a reason, you won’t be able to answer the “WHY” that haunts you. Each suicide is individual, regardless of the generalizations about the “why’s”, and there may be no way you will completely understand the suicide victim’s thought process.
As you look for answers and understanding, you also need to deal with your feelings of shock, anger, and guilt. The intensity of your feelings will depend on how close you were to the deceased and the degree of involvement you had with his or her life. As each suicide is individual, so will your reaction, healing, and coping process be unique.
If you’ve lost a loved one to suicide, you may want to consider joining a support group. Crisis Clinic offers Survivors of Suicide, a support group offering bereavement counseling to individuals who have lost a loved one to suicide. For more information, please call our business office at 206.461.3210.
Source: Grief After Suicide, a publication of the Mental Health Association in Waukesha County, Inc.