Dear Annie How do I deal with my husband’s suicide a year ago? He did it in our home and I never expected it. This has crushed me. I can't eat or sleep. What's wrong with me? I don’t like Christmas, although there’s more to it than that. – LJ
Annie says: I am so terribly sorry to hear about your husband’s death. It is one thing to lose a loved one, but an entirely different experience to lose someone to suicide.
It sounds like you are really struggling to meet your needs and look after yourself so I want to really urge you to seek out support – both from family and friends and professionally. Grief can be incredibly isolating, and grief from suicide in particular can make people feel extremely cut off.
Suicide triggers a whole host of reactions and I imagine one thing you may be experiencing is anger. Whilst this is very normal and understandable, being angry after the death of someone close is in itself a very difficult and uncomfortable feeling to come to terms with, especially if the anger is directed at the person who has died. It can also contribute to the sense of isolation you may be feeling.
It is really important you find a way to create space for your grief and all the feelings associated with it. Due to the isolating nature of this type of grief, I would encourage you to find a community of other people grieving from suicide. Support After Suicide has some really supportive guidance and explains all the most common responses to grief from suicide, as well as details of counselling and support groups across Australia.
Survivors of Suicide (SOS) has some useful information on coping with grief from suicide and also has access to bereavement support groups in Ballarat and Phillip Island.
You can see other professional support options on the Funeral Guide bereavement support page. As for Christmas, it’s entirely understandable that you don't want to engage with this celebration, so I would encourage you to do whatever feels appropriate for you and ask that you have company and support for this choice. The most important thing, though, is not to do this alone.
If you’ve lost someone close to you, or been affected by a bereavement, psychotherapist Annie Broadbent is here to help. If you have a question for her to answer in this column, write to her at DearAnnie@funeralguide.com
Annie Broadbent is a trained psychosynthesis counsellor, with specialist experience working with the bereaved. As a therapist she explores the mind, body, feelings and spirit, working with individuals in a way that is most appropriate for them.
She is the author of bestselling self-help book We Need to Talk About Grief, inspired by personal experiences of living through bereavement, including her own. Whilst writing her book, Annie volunteered at St Christopher's Hospice and has given a number of talks on issues around grief, bereavement and mental health.