By Gabe Sanders Ph.D., NSCA-CSCS
In general, there are two types of people that can relate to suicide. You have either experienced the loss of a loved one due to suicide or you have never experienced a suicidal loss of a loved one. Know this, whether you have or have not experienced suicide does not make you a good or bad person, but the way in which you perceive the “why” could be different based on your personal experiences.
Recently, I have personally experienced a significant loss as a result of suicide and I can tell you there are many questions throughout the grieving process and there is no such thing as a bad question. There is not a single best method in which people should cope or grieve.
While the questions continue to pile up, I can assure you that my perception of suicide has drastically changed over the years, especially more recently. I also truly believe that sometimes, there is no way to prevent suicide, so self-blame is not a fair response for people coping with their loss.
Is suicide a “selfish” act?
Perhaps you have heard people say, suicide is a “selfish” act and that people who commit suicide are only concerned about themselves. I would respond to that comment by saying the following…
Perhaps people who judge suicide are not suffering from a mental illness. It is easy to point the finger or cast blame, but it is impossible to understand the level of depression or challenges people with mental illness face on a day-to-day basis. People with mental illness and major depression experience dark times and often live a very conflicted life.
Therefore, it is unreasonable to judge their actions when you simply do not know what they are experiencing. It is not acceptable to judge a cancer patient for their poor health, so why would we judge people with mental illness?
Meditation and prayer may bring peace and hope
For those in need of encouragement, just know that we, human beings, are not judged based on our response to our best times and we certainly are not judged how we respond to our darkest times. Meditation and prayer can bring an immense amount of peace and hope for people who commit suicide and for those family and friends coping with the loss of a loved one.
If you are coping with the loss of a loved one, the best action you can do is to seek professional help! There are really good mental health counselors, clinical psychologists, and psychiatrists available that specialize in a suicidal loss. So please, seek the appropriate help for the sake of your own mental health!
**For help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; Available 24 hours. 1-800-273-8255
Khan, Anisur Rahman, Kopano Ratele, and Najuwa Arendse. “Men, suicide, and Covid-19: Critical masculinity analyses and interventions.” Postdigital Science and Education 2.3 (2020): 651-656.
John, Ann, et al. “Trends in suicide during the covid-19 pandemic.” (2020).