Chapter 6: Caring for yourself
Staying connected and finding support
I can’t change my sorrow, but I still need people who will listen and not act like they have the answers.
The most awful part is the silence, the isolation. Sometimes it feels like no one understands.
People always said “Call if you need anything,” but it is hard to reach out when everything is so overwhelming. I finally asked a friend this week to help me with the garden and some jobs around the house. I really needed a hand, and they were there for me.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, in a place of uncertainty and pain, and facing a world that might not understand, you may want to isolate yourself from others, or you may feel reluctant to share your grief. You might feel depressed or disinterested in life’s activities. It’s important not only to acknowledge your grief but also to express it in whatever ways work best for you.
Your usual support systems, such as family, work, and friends, can be both a deep resource and a source of challenges. You may be surprised by who is and is not available or understanding at this time. Some people may surprise you in a good way, and you will find their support a welcome relief, while others may disappoint you.
What may help
- Acknowledge any feelings of wanting to isolate yourself and remind yourself that support is crucial, now more than ever.
- If there are people you normally count on who aren’t providing the support you need, let them know what you need. Sometimes family or friends want to support you but don’t know how.
- It can also happen that people you usually turn to for support are unavailable, reluctant, or unhelpful. In some cases, they may be grieving the same death. If your usual support network has “gone missing” or is hard to deal with, it is important to locate other sources of support.
- Consider looking to co-workers, friends, and community/faith-based networks for support. You may find a local or online bereavement support group for those grieving a death by suicide, or you might seek in-person or online support from a professional counsellor who specializes in this area. Accessing crisis services in your area can be helpful for short-term support and for finding other resources in your community.
- It can be difficult to talk to others about your grief over the person’s suicide, especially when the circumstances have been complicated or perhaps unknown. You might not be sure what to share or who to share it with. Whether in your family, among friends, or at work, there may be a lot of trial and error in figuring out who to share your feelings, thoughts, and experiences with, as well as when and how.