Bereavement by Alan

From the age of 16 I had experienced depression and anxiety regularly. I also experienced some bullying. I used to drink alcohol occasionally to overcome these feelings. Overall though, I felt mentally and emotionally okay.

However, last year my best friend died due to suicide. After the suicide, things went downhill pretty much straight away. I immediately started feeling very guilty about it and had loads of self-blame. These thoughts started taking over my life. Added to this I had the normal feelings of sadness and loneliness because of losing a friend. These feelings of guilt and self-blame are still very strong today.

Eventually I sought help from a counsellor. This helped me to understand and come to terms with different elements involved in suicide. I found it very useful to talk about the issue and also to understand it a bit better. It really helped.

I also started attending a local GROW Mental Health weekly support group. This helped me to focus on my own mental health. I was advised by the group to get back to keeping active. I used to be involved in sports and go to the gym regularly. I stopped doing this after losing my friend. This task may seem very small but it helped me loads. It stopped me from isolating myself. It’s definitely working.

At the time I felt I was the only one going through these feelings. Now I know that a lot of people battle with feelings of guilt but, with help, they eventually begin to turn things around. I’m one of those people.

Alan's Tips

#1
Don't hide away
#2
Talk to a counsellor if you find it hard to talk to friends
#3
Check out local support groups
#4
Gather info from the internet – use trusted websites
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