Bereavement by Alan

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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