Healing After A Suicide Attempt
After a suicide attempt, the whirlwind of emotions that follow may become overwhelming for both the person that attempted it and their loved ones. It’s natural and normal to feel a wide range of things such as frustration, confusion, emptiness, nervousness, and more. The truth of the matter is, a suicide attempt is draining physically and mentally, and recovery after an attempt looks different for everyone.
When Healing Hurts
If a loved one has recently attempted suicide you may feel angry towards the person. “How could they do this?” “Don’t they know I’m just a phone call away?” Though these are valid and understandable feelings, it’s important to know that what led someone to attempt suicide may often be because thy felt truly alone in the world. Additionally, many people also feel like a burden to others and therefore don’t want to bother people with their issues. This is no fault of yours or theirs, and placing blame is something that will only lead to more heartache and confusion.
Suicide Attempt Recovery
Often, people may feel like giving a person space after a suicide attempt is what could help them best. Though in some situations this may be appropriate, what can truly assist someone in their recovery is asking them what they need. Most of the time, they won’t know what you can do to help and in this case, try following these suggestions:
- Don’t lose contact with them:
In the beginning, it may seem like they are ignoring you but in reality, they just went through something rather traumatic both mentally and physically. Allow them to recover but send them supportive text messages to let them know you’re thinking of them.
- Support their hobbies:
Depression and suicidal tendencies often take away a person’s will to do anything that once gave them joy. Remind them of the hobbies they previously showed interest in, and invite them to participate in it with you.
- Ask for other’s help:
It’s okay if the person doesn’t wish to speak with you right away, try not to take it personally. They may feel ashamed or embarrassed at first and are getting used to their new normal. If this is the case, ask other close friends to check in on them.
- Keep an open discussion:
After an attempt, it may seem more natural to avoid tough conversation and steer the discussion another way. However, if they feel comfortable opening up to you and want to talk more about their attempt, allow them to lead the conversation and validate their feelings. Avoid phrases such as “Was it really that bad?” or “Cheer up, you have your whole life ahead of you!” These may invalidate their feelings of loneliness and depression.
- Accept and empathize with them:
Of course you accept your loved one! Although you may wholeheartedly know that you will love them no matter what, they may not understand this. Remind them that you’re not going anywhere, and that you’ll stay by their side through their recovery. If they do express their feelings and thoughts to you, follow the previous point of validating their emotions and say things like “That must’ve been so difficult for you.” or “I’m here for you, and I’m sorry you felt that way.”
Suicide attempts and the recovery that follows is never a straight forward, linear path. Everyone is different in how they heal and what their safety plan looks like. Be patient with both yourself and the other person, and remember that this is something that will take time. It’s equally important to remember your own self care in a time where you’re caring and looking after others. Fueling yourself mentally will help you be more prepared and open to helping others with their mental health.
If you or a loved one is struggling with suicidal thoughts please call 988 or visit here for more resources.
Address: 4943 S Wasatch Boulevard, Salt Lake City, Utah 84124