How do I deal with my neighbor's suicide? (Trigger: Upsetting content)

A few months ago, my neighbor jumped from his balcony on the fifth floor. I was the second person to find him, about two minutes after he had jumped. At first I didn’t realize what was going on. I heard a sound, didn’t think much about it, then went outside to go to the store. I was completely stunned for 15 seconds before I understood what had happened. One of my other neighbors was holding his head and talking to the emergency services people on the phone. I went over to help. I think “somewhat traumatizing” are the right words for how this has affected me. It was a very jarring scene. A lot of blood. He seemed conscious, but couldn’t speak (for reasons I won’t go into detail about here because I don’t want to upset anyone). It was obvious to me from the moment I went over to him that he was not going to be OK, but I still lied and told my other neighbor (who was crying) that it was all going to be OK. I started crying too. I was told to try to put him into the recovery position to help him breathe. If my other neighbor hadn’t stopped me early, I could have broken his spine. I didn’t know it was dangerous to move him. So then I just held him there for 10 minutes or so, and cried, until the ambulance arrived and gave him morphine. He went into a coma at the hospital. After a few days, I was told he had died, and that it was just as well, considering the damages. A few days later, I saw his parents sitting outside where it happened. They didn’t talk to each other, they just sat there for hours.

As some of you might know, I don’t have my psychologist anymore. And I really didn’t want to trouble anyone with this at first, so I didn’t talk much about it. I felt guilty when people asked me about it because I didn’t want to make his death about my problems. He was a great guy. I felt making this about me would be disrespectful to his memory and to his parents. Now, it’s been some months, but I still can’t think about it. And sometimes, I can’t not think about it. It is negatively affecting my functioning and my life. I find it hard to see life as meaningful, and I feel depressed. I worry that some of my loved ones will commit suicide. And I feel guilty when I think about how it still affects me. I also feel guilty for not helping him earlier. I saw him outside an hour before he jumped, and he seemed distressed and very sad, but I didn’t stop to talk to him. I know I should talk about this with someone, but it’s difficult. Do any of you have any ideas about how I can deal with this?

5 Likes

Recently one of my acquaintances and his father threw themselves under a train. It was sad, but I already knew that this is how this world ‘works’. :frowning:

You didn’t do anything wrong. You did everything right. So there’s no reason to feel guilty. Whenever someone dies people close to the person always end up blaming themselves and that’s not right.

7 Likes

I am so sorry for your loss and that you had this experience.

Not only did you lose your neighbor, but are having to cope with his death in a very disturbing way.

I don’t really know how to deal with this,

However I feel like you are starting to move in the right direction by sharing what happened.

I think you were very brave to have helped in the first place, many people wouldn’t have even been able to get near him.

Maybe you can write about it in a journal. Sometimes when you put pen to page about something it gives you power over it. When you write, it allows you to have control and really be able to sort your feelings. Then, maybe, make a craft or painting that reminds you of him in a positive way. Keeping it in your house will make you feel reverent to his memory and maybe give you some closure.

4 Likes

Suicide is such a sad thing and the ripple effect after a suicide can continue for a long time.

I know this won’t necessarily bring you comfort, but a lot of what you’re feeling is probably pretty normal, the questions of “why” and “what if” and so forth. It is particularly traumatizing for folks who find the suicide, because the images can be so graphic and cannot be forgotten.

Is there a suicide survivors support group in your area? It might be helpful to talk with others who’ve been through this. There are also some online resources for suicide survivors that might be helpful.

3 Likes

Perhaps you can gives them words of comfort, such as the truth about death, and that depressed people who commit suicide still have hope for resurrection. And tell them it is alright to grieve and weep.

1 Like

My nephew jumped from a tower almost 10 years ago. He was the son of a brother i am still very close to. he was only 17. He and his father lived with me for about 3 years when he was younger. I set him beside my own child, and he was like a second son/nephew. (he had no mother). He became the “brother” my son neverr had.

You said you knew him a bit as you claimed he was a great guy. The time you spent with him meant a lot to him. That was really all you could do. I did all i could do too. i did not live with my nephew when he did what he did. He had a severe MI from very young and often acted distressed. For this man you knew, there was no way for you to know what was going on inside his thoughts.

His father, my brother, blamed himself. That broke everyones heart more so in the family.

I think you should try to let go of these thoughts. Focus on a time he may have approached you in a good mood. Think of what he was like. Try to remember a time he made you laugh.

i have lost some people over the years, and this is what i learned about death-

Would i want to be stuck in someones memory as a tragic thought? would i want them remembering my illness? my sadness? my anger? None of those things are really me.

My life, and yours and his too is the good stuff that we purposely did between the bad that happens on this journey. Life is what we strive to accomplish, what we did, and even things we wanted but never got. What we aspire to be counts too.

Was my nephew a violent person who lost his life due to mental illness?

No. He was a cute a gerber baby. He was the best actor in his elementry school play. He made me laugh because “putting on a suit is how you get a girlfriend.” many more good memories.

once the grieving and the pain is gone, there comes a greatfullness of just having been able to know the person. Time to think of what it might have been like if that person was never in my life.

The sum total of our lives is not bad times or how we die. Our lives is our time on this earth and what we do with it.

10 Likes

I’m so sorry that happened to you. Death is awful, and there is no getting around it. My dad has been gone for over ten years now, and it still hits me like a punch in the gut when someone mentions something about him unexpectedly. I still spend some days lying on the couch crying because I miss him so much.

What I’m trying to say, is that of course this is going to impact you. You went through a very traumatic experience, and in many ways, you’re still going through it. There is no reason to feel guilty over that. Suicide especially is horrifying, and it changes the people left behind forever. I wish more people who are contemplating suicide could understand just how much it would destroy everyone around them.

What helps me is talking about it with people who understand. I went to a grief support group for a while, and that helped enormously. I wrote about it on my blog, and I read other blogs people wrote about grief. I made friends with other people who were going through the same thing. I listened to sad music and cried, and spent many days doing absolutely nothing else. It took me a full year and a half before I was even able to smile again for the first time.

Also, seeing a PTSD counselor might be a good idea. This was a very traumatic event for you, and it would be good to get advice from an expert on such things.

3 Likes

I’m sorry this happened. It is easy to push your grief away because you feel it pales in comparison to what happened. But you still have to tend to your own feelings, as they are yours.

It was very brave of you to help in the way you could. Sometimes I feel like I’m too broken to help others and so I don’t out of self preservation. I’m sure having people with him helped.

Also, you are obviously a compassionate sensitive person. He made a mistake and you can’t help being affected by that. Let others help you with this. And know that time will help heal you of this. Allow yourself to gradually be healed, don’t shut it out by being stoic. For what it’s worth you did a good thing, and you did your best, which is all anyone can do.

4 Likes

Been there, done that. Sometimes I wish I had better judgment.

Jayster

2 Likes

Hi Treebeard,

I lost my closest friend to suicide and I’m still at times in the grieving process.

I don’t remember the exact stages of the grieving process, but the thing about grief is that it is an extremely powerful emotion. I think it’s more powerful than the joy of having sex.

That being said, the grieving process is not a linear experience. And what I mean by that is that an individual can go from any stage (loss, denial, anger, acceptance) at any moment in his/her life.

Now, I really recommend talking to a counselor about your experience. Preferably one who deals with grieving.

Also, a great book to read (I know, I know, me and my books) is “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” It’s written by a Rabbi, Harold Kushner.

But Kushner’s book is very well respected and often read by peoples in the grief healing circles.

I wish you well and true happiness.

Hugs!
:heart:

2 Likes

Thank you all for the kind words and for helping me with this. I’m glad I posted this, but I’m so sorry that many of you have lost friends and family to suicide. You have my deepest sympathy.

I don’t know if grief explains it, or if it’s something else. I didn’t know him very well, we just talked a little occasionally, and he always asked how I was doing. Everyone liked him. It might have been more the very disturbing way he died and holding him in some of his last conscious moments, not being able to do anything. But I do have some thoughts and feelings that seem like grief to me. I’ll have to think about this.

@Moonbeam I found a large organization that offers suicide support groups for different people. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to send them an e-mail and ask if they have a group that’s appropriate for me or if I should try to talk to my psychiatric nurse about this. The problem with talking to my nurse is that this guy went to the same place as me, so everyone there knew him well. And I’m not that comfortable with my nurse yet because I’ve just been assigned to her.

@anon54386108, those are great ideas. They make a lot of sense to me. I’m definitely going to try to implement something like this in some way. I did feel a little better the day after I wrote this OP.

Again, thank you all so much!

8 Likes