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"Is what I'm experiencing normal?"

Sudden trauma may cause some physiological and emotional response. Some common physiological responses are -

  • Tightness or heaviness in the chest
  • Breathlessness
  • Exhaustion
  • Physical pain in different parts of the body

Seek medical help should the symptoms persist.

Some common emotional responses - 

Feelings of shock and disbelief are likely to hit you in the initial stage. You may find yourself feeling numb and functioning mechanically.

As a survivor, it is normal to search for answers to make sense of the suicide. The "what ifs" and "whys" may go through your mind again and again.

You may also experience some sense of guilt, as you repeatedly go through the sequence of events that preceded the suicide. You may blame yourself for things you have done or for things you wished you had done. You may also blame family members, friends, or even religious figures. Anger is often related to these feelings of blame and guilt. And, they may be directed at yourself or at others.

Some survivors speak of shame because of the stigma attached to suicide. You may fear that you or your loved ones will be judged. You may feel all alone with no opportunity to talk about your feelings and the person you lost.

Sadness and despair can be overwhelming and the pain related to the loss can lead to depression. It is also not uncommon for survivors to have suicidal tendencies after losing someone they love.

"What is the grief process like? how long will it take?"

Survivors grieve in their own ways.

While there are common emotions among survivors, suicide bereavement is a very individual experience. There is no 'right' way to grieve. We manage our pain differently and adopt different ways to cope with the loss.

Survivors Heal at their own pace.

Your journey of grief will be unique and the amount of time you need is likely to be very different from another family member or survivor. Allow yourself to take all the time you need.

Tips from other Survivors

  • It's perfectly alright to cry.
  • Certain dates or events will bring back memories and the pain of the loss. As such, you may feel the emotions again and again.
  • Be patient with yourself and others who may not understand.
  • Try to put off making major decisions.
  • It can be very difficult to express your feelings and talk about your grief. But talking can help with the healing.
  • Find a good listener.
  • Call on your personal faith, if you have one, to help you through.
  • Seek professional help if needed.
  • Recognise that you are not alone. Join a support group to meet other survivors who have similar experiences.
  • Know that you can survive even if you may not think so.
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