SOS – Survivors of Suicide (Loss)
In the last week, I’ve spoken with a few fellow survivors of suicide. A fellow survivor named Cathy lost her boyfriend a mere three weeks ago. In an effort to reach out to help Cathy and others who have lost a loved one to suicide, I decided it was time to post a list specifically geared to help survivors of suicide loss.
UPDATE: I also must acknowledge I see many hits on this blog post from people who are searching the internet for ways to kill themselves. I know some of you are entering “tips for suicide”, “suicide tips” or “how to suicide”. I see you visiting from all over the world. If you are contemplating ending your life, I BEG you to READ THIS before taking any action to hurt yourself.
The Term SOS explained
“SOS” (survivor of suicide) is an acronym used to describe people mourning the loss of a loved one from suicide.
In my article, Suicide: Part 1 – Facts & Warning Signs, I stated “It is estimated that each suicide intimately affects at least 6 other people (the Survivors of Suicide) and up to 100 people that is anywhere between 200,000 and 3 million American affected each year.”
Suicide changes MILLIONS of lives.
Meet Iris Bolton
Iris lost her son to suicide in 1977. She has been instrumental in pioneering a counseling movement to support bereaved families after a death by suicide. Iris is Director Emeritus at The Link Counseling Center in Georgia, she earned a Master’s degree in suicidology, wrote a book called My Son…My Son: A Guide to Healing After Death, Loss, or Suicide (I just received a copy of this book in the mail yesterday) and is the author of the list titled 25 Tips for Survivors of Suicide.
Even though I am a survivor of suicide, Iris has many more years of experience and education relating to this issue. I felt her list would offer the most insight and wisdom to survivors.
I have not had the opportunity to meet Iris, although she kindly allowed us to publish her Tips for Survivors of Suicide here at Giggle On.
Thank you Iris for reaching out to help a fellow survivor like me and for allowing me to publish your list for the benefit of others. I hope to have the opportunity to meet you in person!
25 Tips for Survivors of Suicide Loss
- Know you can survive. You may not think so, but you can.
- Struggle with “why” it happened until you no longer need to know “why” or until you are satisfied with partial answers.
- Know you may feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your feelings but all your feelings are normal.
- Anger, guilt, confusion, forgetfulness are common responses. You are not crazy-you are in mourning.
- Be aware you may feel appropriate anger at the person, at the world, at God, at yourself.
- You may feel guilty for what you think you did or did not do.
- Having suicidal thoughts is common. It does not mean that you will act on those thoughts.
- Remember to take one moment or one day at a time.
- Find a good listener with whom to share. Call someone if you need to talk.
- Don’t be afraid to cry. Tears are healing.
- Give yourself time to heal.
- Remember the choice was not yours. No one is the sole influence in another’s life.
- Expect setbacks. Don’t panic if emotions return like a tidal wave. You may only be experiencing a remnant of grief, an unfinished piece.
- Try to put off major decisions.
- Give yourself permission to get professional help.
- Be aware of the pain of your family and friends.
- Be patient with yourself and with others who may not understand.
- Set your own limits and learn to say no.
- Steer clear of people who want to tell you what or how to feel.
- Know that there are support groups, which can be helpful, such as The Compassionate Friends.
- Call on your personal faith to help you through.
- It is common to experience physical reactions to your grief; i.e. headaches, loss of appetite, inability to sleep, etc.
- The willingness to laugh with others and at yourself is healing. [Giggle On!]
- Wear out your questions, anger, guilt, or other feelings until you can let them go.
- Know that you will never be the same again, but you can survive and go beyond just surviving.
SOS Meetings in Delaware
The Mental Health Association of Delaware sponsors SOS (Survivor’s of Suicide) meetings in the state.
SOS Meetings outside of Delaware
Remember, Don’t Give Up! Find a Way to Giggle On!