Facing Suicide Part IV

23 Signs and Symptoms that Suicide Loss is Destroying Your Health

So far in Parts I – IV of this series, Facing Suicide during Suicide Awareness Month, you learned facts about suicide to help you understand it and relieve yourself of the guilt and shame that goes alone with losing a loved one to suicide. You also learned some very important information about identifying if someone is possibly suicidal. You are now equipped to ask some tough questions and know what to do if someone is suicidal. Unfortunately, we can’t prevent all suicides and many of us are left in the aftermath of a suicide loss. My son took his life in 2018 and I was in a state of shock that was unbearable. In my time of despair and grief, I turned to doing what I had done before – journaling. However, in the case of my son’s suicide, my journaling was public on Facebook. My friend Lynn shared this with me after following my social media posts of my heartache, grief and sadness after my son committed suicide: “I’m taking this opportunity to thank you for sharing your grief journey the way you do. I’ve been hospitalized multiple times after suicide attempts and seeing your raw pain helps remind me how I’d be hurting my loved ones if I ever succumbed. I am in awe of your strength and grace and truly hope sharing your grief is healing to you.” Lynn When someone dies, we experience grief. Truly, what is grief? Grief is the internal thoughts and feelings you have when a loved one dies. It is a strong feeling of sadness. It is natural to experience grief. It is normal to miss a loved one. Grief has many faces. It is individual, and your grief is no better or worse than another’s. This is not a place or time to compare pain and suffering. It is a journey. Emotions associated with grief are difficult to understand. Find solace in the fact that being human naturally includes loss and pain. It is a universal experience. No matter what your unique circumstances, you can move through grief to healing. There is hope. However, you are more than likely to encounter a degree of pain and suffering, some of which can be short-term. These short-term signs are called acute grief. Acute grief is characterized by changes in physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Symptoms of acute physical grief can include:
  • Trouble initiating or maintaining sleep
  • Chest heaviness or pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lack of desire to eat
  • Headache
  • Digestive issues
Symptoms of acute mental grief can include:
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Slowed thinking
  • Wandering aimlessly
  • Feeling trance-like
  • Prevailing need to retell the story of your loved one’s death
Symptoms of acute emotional grief can include:
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Longing to be with the person who has passed
  • Loneliness
  • Apathy
  • Anger
Symptoms of acute spiritual grief can include:
  • Lack of purpose
  • Lowered self-esteem
  • Withdrawn and isolated
  • Negativity
  • Inability to forgive
Remember, there are many physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual symptoms from grief. The symptoms I mentioned above are only a sample of what you could be experiencing. The Ripple Effect of Suicide Suicide is like a pebble in a pond, creating a ripple that continues to spread. It is a single event that has far-reaching and often unintended consequences. These events have lasting physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health impacts as mentioned in the lists above. The first wave of suicide hits those closest to the person who died: friends and family. They are the ones likely to be affected the most. These are the people who interacted with them daily, were physically close to them and miss their presence, touch, smell, and voice. It may put them at risk of suicide themselves if they are traveling through troublesome and difficult times. It is a case of “copycatting” behavior even though they know the pain they’ve gone through losing a loved one to suicide. People that were acquaintances can be impacted as well. These are their tribe of church members, teachers, co-workers, neighbors, doctors, and the barista at the local coffee shop. They are exposed to the trauma of suicide, just like secondhand smoke to those who lived in homes where smoking was allowed indoors. Veterans, people who live in rural areas, sexual and gender minorities, middle aged adults, people of color are among those who are not only impacted by suicide but have an increased risk of taking their own lives. Factors that influence their higher degree of suicide are the conditions in which they live, play, work, and learn. These can include racism, poverty, lack of education opportunities, limited access to healthcare, (physical and mental). Suicide is a devastating public health concern, defining societal issues in many countries with the greatest burden on low-income and middle-income countries. Action is being taken at government and community levels to bring awareness and help prevent suicide. The World Health Organization (WHO), American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), The National Institute of Mental Health (NAMI), Center for Disease Control (CDC), Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) are among those who are leading the fight against suicide. There are local chapters with AFSP, NAMI and SAVE that you can get involved with by volunteering or participating in an event to raise awareness. Many suicide loss survivors start an event in honor of their loved one. I chose to write books, coach and speak on suicide, perseverance and resilience. The signs and symptoms that the loss of a loved one to suicide do not need to dictate your ability to move forward. Your life has been forever changed. You must learn to change with it. Next week, I will give you tools and resources to restore your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. You will find hope to live, love and laugh again. Yes, with audacity I offer hope. Please remember to share this blog with someone who really needs it. Suicide impacts all of us in one way or another. Visit https://www.theegriefspecialist.com for the complete series – Facing Suicide. #suicidepreventionandawareness #hope #health #griefrecovery #suicidelosssurvivor #helpingyoumoveforward
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