When a Loved One Commits Suicide: Healing from the Guilt and Trauma

When I discovered the truth, I was 10 years old. He didnt fall. He wasnt pressed. It wasnt a mishap.

Suicide isnt an idea easily discussed to a six-year-old, much less her more youthful brother or sisters, so I matured believing that my fathers drowning was a regrettable freak accident. It was “simply among those things,” the terrible way of the world, and there was nothing anyone could have done about it.

At 10 years old I discovered the reality– that it wasnt some divine entity or unfortunate catastrophe that took him from me. He had, in fact, ripped himself from the earth and left everybody he enjoyed behind. Left me behind.

“You will survive, and you will find function in the chaos. Proceeding doesnt suggest letting go.” ~ Mary VanHaute

This description more than pleased me and, other than a worry of open water and a small pang of sadness whenever he was pointed out, I suffered no grievous injury for the rest of my early youth.

He jumped.

Was it something I did?

I refused to speak about my issues and enabled them to fester, harboring so much anger, guilt, shame, and unhappiness that eventually it would emerge out of me. It was just in my mid-twenties that I realized simply how deeply my dads suicide had actually affected me and the course of my whole life.

” Of course not,” my mother stated. “He was just sad.”

I sought help and, gradually, I began to heal.

As I grew into my teenage years, the possibility that I was the driving force behind my daddys suicide started to afflict me, albeit unconsciously. I reasoned that the bullies at school disliked me so, naturally, my father must have disliked me too.

This pattern of thinking would gradually toxin my mind, laying the foundations for what would later on become borderline character disorder. I suffered from extreme fears of desertion, codependency, psychological instability, and suicidal ideation, thinking that I was an innately terrible person who drove individuals away.

The concept that suicide was a simple treatment for unhappiness ended up being the very first of many harmful cognitive distortions I adopted. It would take no more than a dropped ice-cream cone or unimportant friendship fall-out for me to state my sadness frustrating, to the point where, at the age of eleven, I drank a whole bottle of cough medication in the belief that it would kill me.

Thats the very first question I asked.

Maybe I wasnt clever adequate or courteous enough. Maybe I was unlovable. Possibly everyone I enjoyed would leave me ultimately.

I was sad, I stated, much like him. And if he could do it, why couldnt I?

Handling The Stigma

Cowardice, selfishness, and damnation are poisonous convictions that permeate the topic of suicide, contributing to the anger, regret, pity, and seclusion that survivors feel. Growing up, I concealed the truth of how my father died under worry of judgment or ridicule, scared that the understanding would not just taint his humankind, but paint me with the same black brush.

Understanding the intricacies of mental disorder and just how destructively they can misshape the mind allowed me to come to terms with my dads death. I was able to accept that his suicide was born not out of selfish weakness, but from prolonged suffering and discomfort, performed by a mind that was consumed by darkness and void of the capability to think rationally.

” Mental health problem is nothing to be embarrassed of, however stigma and bias pity us all.” ~ Bill Clinton.

I still keep in mind the words of a lady in high school, “Well, you should not sympathize with individuals who do it, it was their option after all.”

Releasing The Need for Answers

It is completely natural to want an answer to the concern of “why.” We feel as though an answer will provide closure, which in turn will ease our regret, confusion, and discomfort. However, since there is generally no particular factor for a suicide attempt, we will constantly be entrusted to questions that will go unanswered.

The truth is that we can not control the actions of others, nor can we predict them. In some cases there are alerting signs, sometimes there are not, but it is an act that often defies forecast. It is likely that we did as much as we might with the minimal knowledge we had at the time.

It becomes a complaint, a desperate yearning for closure that weighs heavily on our hearts. After all, not only did they leave us, however they left us in the dark.

We may never ever totally move on from the suicide of a loved one, in time we will recognize that they were so much more than the way in which they died.

As survivors, we tend to magnify our contributing function to the suicide, tormenting ourselves with “what ifs,” as though the antidote to their pain lay in our pockets.

We feel guilty for not seeing the signs, even when there were no indications to see. We feel guilty for not being grateful enough or attentive enough, for not choosing up the phone or pressing harder when they stated, “Im great.” Even as a child I felt an overwhelming regret, questioning whether I could have prevented my fathers suicide simply by stating please-and-thank-you more frequently than I had.

It is a concern that just the person who devoted suicide can address– but they typically leave us with no sense of understanding. In the absence of some conclusive explanation or a detailed note we find ourselves trapped in an unlimited spiral of rumination, speculating, slamming, and self-blaming, to no avail.

Totally accepting that I was never ever going to get the responses I longed for released me from the constant rumination of “why.”.

About Kia Hartford.

Even as a kid I felt an overwhelming guilt, questioning whether I might have avoided my fathers suicide merely by stating please-and-thank-you more typically than I had.

Launching the Guilt.

Kia Hartford is a writer and mental health blog writer devoted to raising awareness and minimizing the preconception surrounding mental health concerns. Over on her blog Beyond The Blues, she shares her lived experiences of borderline personality condition, anxiety, ptsd, stress and anxiety and substance abuse. You can also find her on Pinterest.

It wasnt my fault. And it isnt yours either.

To estimate Jeffery Jackson, “Human nature subconsciously withstands so highly the concept that we can not manage all the occasions of our lives that we would rather fault ourselves for a tragic event than accept our inability to avoid it.”.

Healing takes acceptance, perseverance, self-exploration, and a lot of forgiveness as you browse your method through a whirlwind of emotions. Nevertheless, there is a light at the end of the tunnel of sorrow. Although we may never ever fully move on from the suicide of a loved one, in time we will realize that they were a lot more than the method which they died.

To quote Darcie Sims, “May love be what you remember many.”.

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” Why?”.

He had, in truth, ripped himself from the earth and left everyone he loved behind. Perhaps everyone I liked would leave me eventually.

Due to the fact that there is typically no singular factor for a suicide attempt, we will constantly be left with questions that will go unanswered.