Suicide Survivors: Why Did This Happen?

From the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Many survivors struggle to understand the reasons for the suicide, asking themselves over and over again: “Why?” Many replay their loved ones’ last days, searching for clues, particularly if they didn’t see any signs that suicide was imminent.

Because suicide is often poorly understood, some survivors feel unfairly victimized by stigma. They may feel the suicide is somehow shameful, or that they or their family are somehow to blame for this tragedy.

However, 90 percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death (most often depression or bipolar disorder). Just as people can die of heart disease or cancer, people can die as a consequence of mental illness. Try to bear in mind that suicide is almost always complicated, resulting from a combination of painful suffering, desperate hopelessness and underlying psychiatric illness. As psychologists Bob Baugher and Jack Jordan explain,

“ [O]nce a person has decided to end his or her life, there are limits to how much anyone can do to stop the act.… In fact, people sometimes find a way to kill themselves even when hospitalized in locked psychiatric units under careful supervision. In light of this fact, try to be realistic about how preventable the suicide was and how much you could have done to intervene. On some level, your loved one made a choice to end his or her suffering through suicide. We can wish with all our heart that our loved one would have chosen differently, but that choice was still his or hers to make. …

… Medical research is also demonstrating that major psychiatric disorders involve changes in the functioning of the brain that can severely alter the thinking, mood, and behavior of someone suffering from the disorder. This means that while stress, social problems and other environmental factors can contribute to the development of a psychiatric disorder, the illness produces biological changes in the individual that create the emotional and physical pain (depression, inabilities to take pleasure in things, hopelessness, etc.) which contribute to almost all suicides.”

- Bob Baugher and Jack Jordan, After Suicide Loss: Coping with Your Grief.


Related articles:
Youth Suicide: What You Can Say and Do to Help the Survivors
What 'Recovery' Will and Will Not Mean
But I Feel So Guilty
Faith

Also from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
What Do I Do Now?
When You Fear Someone May Take Their Life

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research and education, and to reaching out to people with mood disorders and those impacted by suicide.

Image via stock.xchng/glendali

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Comment by TCGOODWIN on December 31, 2013 at 5:01pm

 Many people feel  it is something that they have done (the family) but research shows that many that  lose the battle suffer from depression. To all families: Please do not blame yourself and do not lose faith in God (Revelation 21:3,4) God is soon going to make things right for all of us and the pain will soon go away.

Comment by lutmina cepeda decherong on December 20, 2010 at 1:06pm

My brother had died from gun wound. It was ruled sucide. Why did this happen? It's really devastating for the entire family. Since he died, there were many questions in my mind. My brother was not like him. Not to mention but two other sibblings had died from the same incidents. I really want to take one step at the time to accept the reality but too many to deal with. How can I move on with my life and accept the consequences whatsoever? I have children and grandchildren of my own and I really try not to show them the pain that I had but it something that I cannot hold within myself. Everything seems going upside down and cannot pick them up. Keep trying day to day to deal with all the surroundings of me.

Comment by lutmina cepeda decherong on December 20, 2010 at 1:06pm

My brother had died from gun wound. It was ruled sucide. Why did this happen? It's really devastating for the entire family. Since he died, there were many questions in my mind. My brother was not like him. Not to mention but two other sibblings had died from the same incidents. I really want to take one step at the time to accept the reality but too many to deal with. How can I move on with my life and accept the consequences whatsoever? I have children and grandchildren of my own and I really try not to show them the pain that I had but it something that I cannot hold within myself. Everything seems going upside down and cannot pick them up. Keep trying day to day to deal with all the surroundings of me.

Comment by Camille Frayser on April 2, 2010 at 10:38am
These are questions I run into daily. Since I have great faith in the Bible I decided to look there for the answers. First I had to come to realize that God did not intend for humans to grow old and die. In Genesis 2:17 when He told Adam and Eve that they were to die if they ate from the tree of the Knowledge of good and bad he told them that death would be their punishment. If it was God's intention for them to die why would he use death as their punishment? Then He sent Jesus and in John 3:16 it brought out "For God loved the world so much that he gave his only begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life." But why would we have been destroyed? In Romans 3:23 it says "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." and in Romans 6:23 "For the wages sin pays is death, but the gift that God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord." Great but will we still die after all of this? In Revelation 20:14 it says "And Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This means the second death, the lake of fire." No more death, hmm, I could deal with that. But there is so much more in the Bible that supports us in our time of need. If you are interesting in what else the Bible says look up Jehovah's Witnesses and they will be happy to give you a free home Bible Course that only requires 10 minutes to an hour of your time. I encourage you to take one That is what I did.
Comment by Camille Frayser on April 2, 2010 at 10:18am
Suicide is a horrible ordeal. What makes people want to end their life that they were given so badly? Why does it hurt the ones they love so deeply? If death was the natrual way of release why does death cause so much pain? What makes us grow old and die? Why do we grow old and die?

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