Suicide Survivors: How to Cope with Holidays,
Birthdays, and Anniversaries
by Kevin Caruso
Coping with the loss of a loved one who died by suicide is not easy. The pain is very intense, and can come rushing back when a holiday, birthday, or anniversary nears.
The best way to cope with those days is to prepare in advance for them.
Think about what you can do on those days to make yourself feel good. And make plans.
Do not spend those days alone -- visit with family members or friends.
You may choose to go out to a special place, or you may choose to stay home. But just be prepared for some strong emotions to hit.
And in the days leading up to the "special day" make sure that you reach out for help when you feel sad or depressed. Talk with friends and family members.
And express your emotions.
If you need to cry, then do so.
And cry as often as you need to.
Crying is an important outlet for pain and sadness.
It can be helpful to talk with a therapist and to go to a suicide support group -- the more people that you have in your support system, the better.
It is particularly important to communicate with other suicide survivors. Whether you go to a suicide support group, call them on the phone, or e-mail them, it is very important to communicate with them when the "special days" approaches -- they have gone through what you are experiencing and can help you through the tough days.
And please stay away from people and places that bother you as the "special day" approaches. Your stress level will be high enough, and you certainly do not anyone to add to it.
Most of all -- always reach out for help when you need it.
If you work and can take a day off, you many consider doing so. It is up to you.
And if you find that you are getting deeply depressed as the "special day" approaches, please seek help. Everyone deals with the "special day" differently, but I have talked with
many people who have told me that the pain overwhelms them as the day nears.
If that happens to you, or if you think that might happen to you, then you need to be proactive and get into therapy well before the day approaches. And if you are already in therapy, you may want to increase the number of sessions that you are attending as the day approaches.
If you need to be treated for depression because of the additional pain that the "special day" is causing you, please get treatment. Please reach out for help.
So, plan in advance for the "special day." Do not spend the day alone. Consider getting into therapy, or increasing the number of sessions as you get closer to the day.
Do not hold your emotions in -- express them. And communicate with as many suicide survivors as you can, by attending suicide survivor support groups, visiting with suicide survivors, talking with them on the phone, or e-mailing them.
And when the "special day" arrives, think about some of the wonderful times that you had with your loved one, and honor him or her.
Please take care of yourself.
I love you,
If you or someone you know is suicidal, please go to the Home Page of this website for immediate help.
I love you.