How to Deal with Loss, Grief & Trauma
I just wanted to start off by saying that your column gives me strength. I see that everyone has something that they are struggling with and it motivates me to keep going. I’m writing to you because my friend committed suicide and I am shattered about the loss and that I didn’t do more for her whilst she was alive. I feel guilty, angry and in so much pain that I can’t see a way forward. How can I forgive her for what she’s done? – Gala
I’m sorry to hear about your loss and the pain that you are currently experiencing.
Suicide is the ultimate act of self-harm and losing a friend in such a traumatic way is extremely painful.
I know that you feel guilty that you didn’t do more for your friend but know this: no matter of what you did or did not do you are not and will never be responsible for your friend’s suicide.
The guilt you are experiencing is the result of your mind trying to process an innately irrational act in the hope that you can access something that can make sense of your friend’s actions.
Yet suicide is in its very essence is inexplicable.
You could have done everything that you believe would have made the difference and that still may have been inconsequential to her.
That is because your friend was probably grappling with unbearable psychological pain as well as, something known as, cognitive constriction.
Cognitive constriction is one of the most hazardous aspects of a suicidal mind because the ability to problem solve has been greatly compromised.
A suicidal individual cannot see beyond their cognitive constriction and their unbearable pain.
Your friend may have never been able to see any of your actions in the way that you view them.
Just writing those words leaves me with such great empathy for you and the pain that you must be experiencing.
You are allowed to feel whatever comes up for you; pain; anger; rage; sadness; heartache; guilt, loneliness; anguish.
Your loss is real and the pain you are feeling runs deep.
By simply acknowledging this without trying to move to forgiveness or fixing anything you honor yourself.
Ultimately, you are the person who requires support right now.
Your pain is raw and when forgiveness comes, which I innately believe it will, you will be able to focus on the love that you and your friend shared and not the way that it ended.
My heart pours out for you Gala, you are not alone in this – please access further support so that someone can be there for you during this time.