More Robin Williams Aftermath: When Someone you Love Commits Suicide

Suicide of a loved one can blanket us with an oppressive morass of confusion and guilt for the rest of our lives, if untreated. Of all deaths, it is the most difficult to accept and the most intractable in its response to treatment.

Know these things:

1. No matter what, it was not your fault. He did what he did because of his own demons, not because of you. There was nothing you could have done.

2. The person committing suicide is not rejecting you. Although the act of suicide is a betrayal to those left behind, the act itself is rarely done in anger or with an attempt to reject. Thinking has tunneled into only one thought. There are no clear emotions, just the knowledge that life is bad, it always will be this way, and the only logical choice is to get out.

3. You need treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. You might have closed down emotionally following the suicide, with a brave attempt to carry on and soldier through. The residue of suicide goes way beyond grief, and it will fester deep below the surface. Because suicide lies just beyond our ability to understand it, it leads to any number of symptoms in survivors that can form a lifetime lived unwittingly in post trauma. See a list of symptoms at You don’t need to experience all the symptoms to deserve treatment; just one or two are enough.

4. You are amazingly strong for having survived and carrying on. The depth of pain that you felt will lead to your gift. Rework the original trauma, reframe and gently heal the pain emotionally and spiritually with the help of talented healers and therapists.