Beyond Surviving

by Iris Bolton, Director of Link Counseling Center, Atlanta, GA

1. Know you can survive. You may not think so, but you can.

2. Struggle with “why” it happened until you no longer need to know “why”, or until you are satisfied with partial answers.

3. Know you may feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your feelings but all your feelings are normal.

4. Anger, guilt, confusion, forgetfulness are common responses. You are not crazy, you are in mourning.

5. Be aware you may feel appropriate anger at the person, at the world, at God, at yourself.

6. You may feel guilty for what you think you did or did not do.

7. Having suicidal thoughts is common. It does not mean that you will act on those thoughts.

8. Remember to take one moment or one day at a time.

9. Find a good listener with whom to share. Call someone.

10. Don’t be afraid to cry. Tears are healing.

11. Give yourself time to heal.

12. Remember, the choice was not yours. No one is the sole influence in another’s life.

13. Expect setbacks. Don’t panic if emotions return like a tidal wave. You may only be experiencing a remnant of grief.

14. Try to put off major decisions.

15. Give yourself permission to get professional help.

16. Be aware of the pain of your family and friends.

17. Be patient with yourself and with others.

18. Set your own limits and learn to say no.

19. Steer clear of people who want to tell you what or how to feel.

20. Know that there are support groups than can be helpful, such as The Compassionate Friends or Survivors of Suicide groups. If not, ask a professional to help start one. (Friends For Survival can help.)

21. Call on your personal faith to help you through.

22. It is common to experience physical reactions to your grief, i.e. headaches, loss of appetite, inability to sleep, etc.

23. The willingness to laugh with others and at yourself is healing.

24. Wear out your questions, angers, guilt, or other feelings until you can let them go.

25. Know that you will never be the same again, but you can survive and go beyond just surviving.

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