The Survivor Experience: Part 10: Why?

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Original Article from the Alliance of Hope 


It has been said that suicide is like a “grenade going off within a family or community,” In the aftermath, survivors are left pofoundly wounded and deeply distressed. Many grapple with debilitating emotions, altered relationships, and challenging responsibilities. Each situation is unique, but some issues are commonly shared by survivors.

Research tells us that it is helpful to know about common survivor reactions. Being informed does not make the reactions disappear. That will take time … a probably a good deal of grief-work. It will help though, to know that what you are feeling is commonly felt by other survivors and that it is possible to survive and go beyond just surviving. Over the next few days, we will bring you information about common survivor issues.



Survivors inevitable search for a reason, perhaps because having a reason might restore some small sense of control in a seemingly unpredictable world. Trying to understand “why” can occupy our minds for a long time. Untimately many realize they may never know.

When survivors talk about their loved ones, it becomes evident that there is no one path or cause for suicide. Each story is unique. Some who take their lives have struggled long and hard with previously diagnosed mental illnesses such as Bi-Polar Disorder, Depression, Schizophrenia or Borderline Personality Disorder. Others have never been diagnosed, but in hindsight, had many traits that fit these diagnoses. Some have spoken of suicide at various points in their lives. Others never spoke of suicide or gave any indication of depression. Some suicides appear to be impulsive following a significant disappointment. Others seem more-planned. Many people who take their lives have alcohol or drugs in their system. Others do not. Some leave notes. Others do not.

It appears that each person who dies by suicide has reached a point where they can no longer tolerate their pain and suffering. Most don’t intend to leave behind a wake of pain and destruction. They are simply searching for a way out of an unbearable struggle.