Chapter 3: Challenges you may face

Increased vulnerability

I've been there
Leah shares how she didn't think that she could survive her grief after Rehtaeh died.(3:22)Video transcript
The grief expert says
Roy talks about normalizing passive suicidal thoughts after the death of a loved one.(3:22)Video transcript

After his death, I lay in bed for months. I thought, “Maybe everyone would be better off if I were with him.”

If your life is smooth, you may have no idea of the full experience of life. Empathy grows with experience, and I think I am actually stronger now. I judge people less.

After a suicide, the mix of pain, loss, trauma, and uncertainty can bring up a sense of vulnerability, the likes of which you haven’t experienced before and couldn’t have predicted. As hard as it may be, being vulnerable is a sign of strength as you become aware of your own needs. Click on the boxes below to learn more.

Vulnerability and trauma can also contribute to thoughts of suicide, both for you and for others who are grieving a death by suicide. As a group, those who have experienced a loss due to suicide loss are at higher risk for suicide than those who are grieving other deaths; but not everyone is affected in the same way. You may be more convinced than ever that life is precious, or you may be wondering if there is any point to going on with your own life.

Sometimes grief about a death by suicide leads to unexpected growth. At some point, you may notice that your view of the world or life has shifted to be more hopeful, or you may feel more able to deal with stress. You may feel less judgmental or more compassionate toward others.


What may help

  • If you are feeling vulnerable, find a way to give voice to your pain and vulnerability, and reach out to others for support.
  • Be honest about what you’re thinking and feeling. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, it’s critical to get professional assistance.