Wishing You A Peaceful Holiday

Wishing You A Peaceful Holiday

Saturday, December 1, 2012

When You Witness A Suicide

by Catherine Greenleaf

There are, unfortunately, instances in which a person dies by suicide in a public arena. If you have witnessed the suicide of a stranger in a public place, what should you do? Should you just continue on as you were before and brush the incident off? After all, you never met the person in question and don't even know the person's name.

There is the time-worn adage, "a witness to violence is a victim of violence." Suicide is a form of self-inflicted violence and witnessing a suicide, whether you know the person or not, can be extremely traumatic. Trauma affects people in different ways. If you are experiencing any of the following, you might consider getting some help:

1. You avoid the area where you witnessed the suicide, even if it means taking longer to get to work, shopping, visiting family and friends. You experience overwhelming panic when approaching the area.

2. You are experiencing unusually violent dreams that upset you.

3. You are experiencing flashbacks around the suicide, e.g., certain smells, sounds and sights are coming back to you piecemeal and unnerving you.

4. You find time is distorted for you. You are late to appointments, early to lunch with a friend. You used to be able to tell what time it was without looking. Now you have no idea what time it will be when you look at your clock.

5. You are having difficulty sleeping through the night.

6. You are starting to isolate and finding it feels safer to be home alone.

7. You are spending more time alone eating or drinking alcohol.

8. You can feel yourself starting to shut down emotionally. You are no longer sure how you feel about anything.

9. You feel life has lost its lustre and you aren't sure what motivates you to get out of bed anymore.

10.You are catching yourself being compulsive. You find you are having difficulty stopping certain activities like cleaning, working and hand washing.

At the very least, a few visits to a sudden death bereavement therapist will help you clear up any feelings you might have about witnessing a suicide. The above list is only a partial one, but each item describes a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. In any case, it never hurts to ask for help!

57 comments:

  1. ... my brother committed suicide via a freight train, parking his car on the tracks. i have often thought of this aspect of things, among other things that i CONSTANTLY THINK AND FEEL WHEN TRYING TO HEAL.

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  2. Dear Anne: Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about my most recent blog post. I am so sorry for your loss. I know that when the suicide is public, it can certainly complicate the loss for survivors. I will be writing more about how it affects us, since I went through a similar loss, which was public. Hope you write in again. -- Catherine

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  3. I recently witnessed(yesterday morning) a female jump in front of a train and feel very strange in both a spiritual and emotional sense in that, up to a point I don't really know how I'm feeling but I continue to experience the event in flashback and see the females face when she looked at me a few minutes before she jumped and feel a strange 'connection'. I am a spiritual person but I also feel a sense of guilt in that I wish I could have prevented her from taking her life.

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  4. I'm so sorry to hear you witnessed a suicide. It can be traumatizing. If you're having flashbacks, you might want to think about getting screened for PTSD. It's always good to talk things out with a therapist, someone trained in sudden death bereavement. I hope you will take good care of yourself!

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  5. My 28 year old son shot himself in front of me a couple weeks ago. It runs on a continuous loop in my mind, each time me wondering could I have said or did anything differently to save him.

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    1. I am so sorry to hear about your son and so sorry you were placed in a such a traumatizing position. Please know that all suicide loss survivors ask those questions again and again: could I have done something? is there something I should have said/not said? The truth is in most situations we would have to be a mind reader to know what is going to happen in the future -- and that includes suicide. I wish you well and I hope you will take good care of yourself by finding someone to talk to about your loss.

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  7. A little over a week ago I was driving home from work when a young woman jumped from an overpass onto the highway and my car was the second to hit and kill her. I try to work, etc. as best as I can, but it plays over and over in my head and I don't know what to do.

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    1. Hi, there. I just got your post. I am so sorry you had to be put through such a terrible ordeal. I, too, was forced to witness the suicide of a complete stranger. What really helped me was finding a counselor who specialized in sudden death bereavement. Talking it out with someone really helped me, too. I know what you mean by the scene playing over and over again in one's mind. I wish you all the best and hope you will find someone you trust to talk with. I will be posting more about witnessing a suicide in the days and weeks to come.

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  8. When I was young, I was away from my parents for the first, substantial amount of time. I was spending two weeks with my aunt and uncle up north right after my birthday.

    During week one, we had to drive to the nearest town for a small item for my cousin and a man from New York jumped in front of the road grader directly in front of us.

    As my aunt used her "mommy seatbelt" reflex to guard me while she slammed on the brakes, I watched his body fly about thirty feet and roll into the other lane.

    I was only eleven. For a while I couldn't even stomach mention of the word "suicide." No one really talked to me about it, other than my aunt initially lying to me that night (she called 911 again to find out the status of the man and told me they thought he might be okay...) and admitting she lied about the outcome the following day.

    I didn't seem to have nightmares or troubles after it happened. As I grew older, though, my anxiety increased all the time. I had to be forced to take driver's ed and didn't get my license until the week before I turned eighteen. Pedestrians on shoulders or even sidewalks trigger anxiety while in a car. Jay walkers have caused anxiety attacks so bad I've had to pull over to calm down. I couldn't drive to my aunt and uncle's the first few times I tried.

    Eventually, fifteen years later, I ordered the police records. I looked up every other person listed in the report. And I called the man's mother to just talk. Unfortunately she passed away a few years prior, but the man's step-father was gracious and kind, listening, answering questions, and thanking me for calling. The next time I went up north, I made it down that road. It was a challenge, but I survived it.

    It was only one week ago that my mother ever spoke of that incident, now nearly twenty years ago. She admitted they all handled it wrong, with regards to me. But how does anyone know how to handle that?

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  9. I am so sorry to hear about what you were put through as a young child. It just isn't fair. But I admire your courage in seeking out the family in order to gain closure. You are very brave. It is such an unusual situation, I can't see how anyone would know how to handle it. I went through something similar, and it has taken me years to get over it. Please take good care of yourself, and don't be afraid to ask for help. Things have really improved in terms of care for those of us who have witnessed a suicide. Wishing you all the best.

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  13. Dear Kaki: I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I hope you are taking good care of yourself. -- Catherine

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  14. Not sure if you still follow this post, but I thought I'd share my recent story...

    So I work as a mobile security guard, last night on one of the sites that I patrol I was first on the scene to find a man who had publicly hung himself. I followed procedure and contacted police and the client and my company, but through the whole thing I felt nothing about it. To the point that when my boss was on the phone he advised me to move away from the body while I waited for the police to show up, because I didn't need to be close to the body as it can be upsetting. That thought didn't even occur to me, but I complied because I felt that that was how normal people react to the situation. When the police arrived on the scene they offered my victims therapy once they received my statement. I declined thinking that I was alright, and because I still had half a dozen more sites to patrol and if I waited around for someone to talk to idiot would take more time and make me late, my boss offered my the HR number for grief therapy which I declined because I thought I was alright.

    I keep having people around tell me that I have experienced a traumatic event, but I feel nothing about it. I'm not sure if I am just really mentally healthy, or really messed up. Tonight I have to return to that site and I don't think I am really bothered by that prospect.

    Personally I feel angry about the event. I have lived my life intentionally avoiding such things. I have never seen a dead body in an effort to preserve my 'innocence' even to the point of not watching particularly violent videos, and now this selfish person has kinda ruined my perfect track record.

    I'm concerned to talk to my family about this event, they were convinced that I should quit my job before and this will just upset them further. I feel that they will take it worse than I have. I don't think I can talk to my friends about this because who wants to talk about a subside that you saw once and how you are handling it if there are no outward signs of being upset. Maybe I just had to tell this story to strangers to get it out.

    -Alex

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  15. I am so sorry you were put in that situation. Everyone reacts differently. Sometimes we have the resilience skills we need to absorb that kind of shock and sometimes we need a little help. There is no embarrassment or shame in getting screened for PTSD or talking to a trauma therapist, just to make sure all is well. Feeling anger is perfectly normal. I think anyone put in that situation would feel angry about it. Please take good care of yourself through this and put yourself first. You deserve it!

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    1. Thank you, I've been talking with a friend who is a therapist, specializing in PTSD. Things are still going smoothly, but it has really helped to have someone to talk to, someone who knows what to ask and what signs to look out for. It's always nice to have someone who not just listens, but also engages.

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  16. Back in February, I was working at my job on the fourth floor of the mall and saw a woman jump to her death. I shouldn't have looked. My manager made me stay and work because corporate was there, and people came up to me for hours asking me what happened. I had to fight off tears and panic, and stand in the same place that I saw her take her life until my shift ended. I haven't told many of my loved ones, and I haven't been the same since. It's been months since it happened, and I don't work there anymore. I don't even go to the mall unless I absolutely have to, and even then I can never make it up to the fourth floor. I don't know how to go back to the way I was before it happened, and I don't know how to be happy anymore

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    1. I am so sorry to hear you were put through such an horrible situation. It's bad enough to witness a suicide, but then to be told you cannot leave the area is beyond outrageous. There are qualified professionals who can help you through talk therapy, group therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy like EMDR for witnesses to suicide. I think you will be amazed at how much healing can happen thanks to these modalities. Please take good care of yourself and remember asking for help is the way to get through this trauma.

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  17. I witnessed the suicide of my late fiancee, almost 16 years ago. Gunshot wound to the head....I was kissing him when he pulled the trigger. I have experienced all of these symptoms and have sought therapy with a trauma therapist. I still go through all of these including washing my hands 1000 times a day. Thank you for posting this. It's been a long road and I am coming to terms with the fact that I will always experience these things. I don't think you can truly ever heal from this. I am better equipped to handle the flashbacks except on occasion when the feelings are too overwhelming. Love to all. Hugs to all. Prayers of peace to all of us.

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  18. I am so sorry you had to go through such an awful experience. But I am also so glad to hear you have undergone therapy with a trauma specialist. You are taking good care of yourself. It is a long road but things definitely do get better over time. Thank you for sharing your story and I wish you all good things in the new year ahead. - C.

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  19. Last month myself and 2 friends were parked waiting for a high speed (120mph here in the UK) to pass a crossing. We saw a man casually leave his car, walk in front of ours, climb the fence and walk into the path of said train. No hesitation. We thought he was going to watch them pass as it's a busy line and sometimes one can he waiting a good 10 mins at that crossing. We commented on how he'd be facing when he climbed the fence. Suffice to say he died instantly and it was beyond comprehension to explain what I saw. We carried on to our destination in a blur having stopped and called the police as we had children in the car (who thankfully didn't witness anything).
    Since then I haven't had trouble sleeping but I am struggling with concentration, my patience is very low and I am losing willpower with say to day things such as diet and errands. I appear ok to my friends but my husband and my mother in law have noticed a change. I wasn't offered any sort of counselling when I gave my account to the police. I thought I could manage and try to move on. I'm not sure if I'm looking for things that aren't there such as my behaviour but I feel I'm losing control over my day to day life. I married into a rail enthusiastic family which has had a negative effect as I won't take my eldest to watch trains and I'm due to use this specific line next month for a weekend away via train. I don't think I can be in the presence of a train similar to that which struck this man. Any advice greatly appreciated.

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    1. First of all, I am so very sorry you had to go through this ordeal. You are recounting some very typical symptoms of having witnessed a suicide. Loss of concentration, lowered patience and lowered willpower are all signs that your resilience skills are being taxed in a very big way. Be very gentle with yourself, and don't force yourself to do anything that would cause anxiety or further trauma. It might be wise to seek out a therapist who specializes in sudden, traumatic loss. Also, being screened for Post-traumatic stress disorder would also be a good idea. Sending you healing thoughts.

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  21. I'm having similar experience currently, and I'm sorry you had to go through yours

    I work as a nurse in an emergency room. A patient of mine just attempted to hang himself from the drop ceiling using a cord from a piece of equipment I forgot to take out of the room. I keep hearing the noises he was making and seeing his body as I'm trying to sleep. I got the cord off of his neck and the first thing he did was curse at me for not leaving him alone. I'm angry at him for taking away my happiness. I'm feeling guilty for neglecting to take the machine out of the room, and I feel weak because as a healthcare provider people don't like to call it ptsd, and we are expected to just move on to the next task.

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  22. I'm having similar experience currently, and I'm sorry you had to go through yours

    I work as a nurse in an emergency room. A patient of mine just attempted to hang himself from the drop ceiling using a cord from a piece of equipment I forgot to take out of the room. I keep hearing the noises he was making and seeing his body as I'm trying to sleep. I got the cord off of his neck and the first thing he did was curse at me for not leaving him alone. I'm angry at him for taking away my happiness. I'm feeling guilty for neglecting to take the machine out of the room, and I feel weak because as a healthcare provider people don't like to call it ptsd, and we are expected to just move on to the next task.

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  23. I am so sorry to hear about your experience. Anger is perfectly normal in this circumstance, and I have found getting a good therapist and talking for one hour a week for however long it takes usually is very effective in helping reduce the PTSD that occurs in a situation like this. Please take good care of yourself. There is no shame in having PTSD. I'm willing to bet all of the nurses struggle with this issue.

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  24. I witnessed a suicide 2 days ago. I didn't actually see the woman hit the ground but I heard when her body hit. It was so loud and I never got close enough to see more than her feet since my boyfriend had me go the other way and shielded me from seeing any more. I didn't have any real emotional reaction that day. I was shaken because the sound was so loud that my first thought was that a bomb had gone off, then I saw the feet of the woman on the ground. That night I had a dream that the person was okay. The next day I was obsessed with trying to find information about the woman and was distressed by the completely non existent media coverage. Except for one Facebook post by another witness it was like the event never occurred and it greatly disturbed me. Later that night I found myself crying. I don't know if I was crying for her, for myself, or for the sake of crying. I have this need to at least know her name. I heard this woman die and yet I don't know her name. I feel like I should know her name.

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    1. Hi Deb—I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I went through a very similar thing on Saturday—I'm wondering if we might have experienced the same thing. What city are you in?

      My experience was very similar. I didn't see it actually happen, but I was very close when they hit, and it was VERY loud, which is what caused me to turn around. I was not at all prepared for what I saw. Like you, I have been frantically searching for information but other than a few Twitter posts simply saying to avoid the area, I've seen nothing, and I expect that may continue to be the case. I don't think the news typically reports on suicide, but I just feel like if somehow I could find out more, I could make sense of it, and then maybe that would help. But I know it won't. I think only time can help. I have been talking to close friends about it and it has helped a little. But as has been suggested, I am considering seeing a therapist.

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    2. Deb-- I am so very sorry you had to go through this terrible situation. Please take good care of yourself. It doesn't matter whether you knew the person or not. You have been exposed to a very distressing and disturbing situation. Have you thought about getting screened for post-traumatic stress disorder? Also, talking to a therapist would help. It would help your boyfriend, too. It is good you are crying. It means you are processing what you saw. Wishing you well. -- Catherine

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    3. Angela -- I am so sorry to hear about your situation. It breaks my heart there are multiple people deeply affected and needing support. I would also like to know what city/state this was in. Getting information is helpful to process a disturbing event like this and the police can provide reports when you are ready. I believe this is best done with the aid of a therapist. It's important to have someone in your corner if case you become overwhelmed. Please be good to yourself! -- Catherine

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    4. Angela, I am in Boston and if you are too then we probably witnessed the same occurrence. It seems strange to have shared a similar experience with so many strangers. I've wanted to reach out to some I've seen on Facebook, but I've feel it would be to awkward. If we did see the same thing I'm sorry you had to be there too and hope that you recover as well as one can. I seem to be handling it better. I still think about the woman and I would like to go back to that place and put a flower down...just to to show some recognition of the connection between that stranger. I don't know. I'm not crying anymore, but I think about her alot. The initial shock seems to be over and now I just find myself reflecting on the tragedy.

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    5. Catherine..thank you for your kind words and I really think I'm on the mend. The night I was crying was the worst of it I think. I seem to be more reflective rather than distressed these last few days. School had been a major help as we are nearing finals week and I've had to focus a lot on that. It still saddens me when I think about it, but I truly think that there is some life lesson here. I still don't know her name, and I might never learn it. I'm going to have to accept that I think. Do you think it would be good to revisit the site and pay my respects?

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    8. Deb, I just wanted to say that what you are experiencing is very common in witness survivors. The term "witness survivor" applies to anyone who has witnessed a suicide or come upon someone who has already died by suicide. This whole idea of outreach to witness survivors and the offering of help is still very new to the helping professions, even within the suicide loss specialties. I'm glad you are feeling a little better. But I would suggest monitoring yourself, since sometimes it can takes months before PTSD starts to show symptoms. Because it can take so long, people don't always link the initial trauma with the onset of PTSD. Suicide is self-imposed violence. There is an old saying: "A witness to violence is a victim of violence." Please take good care of yourself. If you go to the site, please bring someone with you. And if you feel overwhelmed, a therapist can help you sort through the feelings, especially someone trained in sudden death and sudden loss.--Catherine

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    9. Catherine-- I will definitely keep your advice close at hand. I am by no means to a point where I think I am no longer affected. I'm sure there will be some lasting effects. I've had previous experience with PTSD after a car accident nearly 10 years ago and have recognized some of the characteristics. The obsessive thoughts, jumping at the sound of sirens, finding myself thinking about it when I get distracted. It's a long road and I know it will take some time to process. After several days of trying to find information on the internet I've determined that I'm not going to find any answers in that kind of search, at least not any that really help me make sense of the senseless. I think this hit me hardest because I have been the person to help 2 of my friends from being successful at committing suicide. Once I had to call the police because the friend had taken an entire bottle of sleeping pills...they got to him in time. I think that I found myself almost feeling guilty or sad because this stranger wasn't able to get that one bit of help...sometimes it only takes the smallest thing and yet she never got that. It hurts my heart. I might at some point see someone, I know the value professional help can give. For now I will just continue to monitor my feelings, cry if I feel the need to, and live on. That poor woman may have felt that the world didn't care or that the pain of life was too much, but I care and now I carry a little bit of a stranger in my heart. I think the term "witness survivor" is an apt description of how it feels and I glad that the world is beginning to recognize the importance of helping people who struggle with that, like I am. It's people like you, Catherine, that can make all the difference.

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    10. Deb—I'm sorry for the late response here. I suppose I kept trying to avoid revisiting my feelings as intensely as I do when I'm here, but at the same time it feels so good to have this resource. It sounds like we witnessed the same event. How are you? Are you still doing better? I haven't cried since about the same time as you, but I do think of her every day, usually multiple times a day. I am still sad for her and her family, but when I think of her it is a mix of replaying the sound, the feelings (I don't know why i insist on doing that) and then just wondering about her. I still wish I knew about her. My mom was there with me when it happened and she told me she had wished that she'd gone over to her so she wouldn't be alone. I think about that a lot and it breaks my heart. Did you end up going back and paying your respects? I think that's a great idea. I went back about 3 days after and it felt very strange to be there. On the one hand, I felt myself get tense and scared as I got closer, and on the other, it made me so sad and yet was so interesting how if I hadn't been there that I never would have known it happened. Life just moved on, the cars still pass, the people still walk by, things just keep moving, you know? It felt very weird. I almost wanted to just stand there or stand where I had been when it happened and just be there. I don't know why, I don't know what I thought that would solve, but I wanted to. I think if I was alone I would have, but I was with someone and it wouldn't have been the same. I hope you're feeling better. I think it will get better day by day, and like you, I am doing a lot of reflecting.

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    11. Deb & Catherine—I just read your second comment and I feel the same exact way, that I now carry a piece of her in my heart. I too spend a lot of time wishing I could have helped her, wishing someone had been there for her, just wishing someone had heard her cries for help and that she'd known that she did matter and that there was a way out that didn't involve taking her life. I've always been an advocate for mental health awareness and felt dismayed at how little it seems to be talked about, and I've struggled with my own troubles, but this has really put things into perspective and made me even more fervent towards bring awareness to mental health. I too still do things like flinch at sirens, or certain noises that sound too close to what we heard. Even just walking around the city I find myself constantly looking up, scouring buildings, just looking everywhere. I hope this is something that will calm with time, but for now I suppose it's just the way my mind needs to deal with this and I am trying to be patient with myself and kind to myself and know that there is probably no "right" or "normal" way to deal with this. I really appreciate what Catherine said about witness survivors. I am so grateful to have found this site—I googled a lot for articles that would discuss what to do or expect if you had experienced something like this and I was shocked that there was practically NO information out there. It really is shocking. So thank you Catherine for having this resource. It's been a big help.

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    12. Angela -- Everything you are describing is totally normal for someone who has witnessed a suicide -- the high startle response, the hypervigilance, the feeling of helplessness. Up here in New Hampshire, we are developing resources for witness survivors. We have experienced a rise in the number of public suicides throughout the state. If you would like, take a look at the Connect Program of NAMI NH on their website. If you click on loss survivors you will see a page for witness survivors. I would highly recommend contacting the AfterSuicide program in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They offer individual and group counseling for anyone affected by a suicide loss. Please follow me on Twitter, as I regularly post links to resources regarding witness survivors. Death is an intimate act, and one we usually reserve for close family, so when it is played out in a public arena, it can have a disturbing affect on witnesses. The important thing is that you are not alone and there is help. I hope you will keep in touch with us here when you feel able. -- Catherine

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  30. Angela- I have yet to visit the site, my studies have taken over my life for the moment. I have every intention of going once my finals are complete next week. I seem to be okay, school is a major distraction from many of the emotions that I have had after the incident. I still find myself thinking about it. I'm a law student and one of the things we covered was the potential for people to recover for Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress. The subject matter would not have affected me prior to witnessing a suicide, but I found myself almost intimately connected to the strangers in the court cases we read. These people would sue for suffering or witnessing a tragic event where they were in physical danger or a closely related family member was tragically injured or killed right in front of them. I could see myself in these cases...though I did not see a loved one I can still see how people are so greatly affected. I still jump at sirens and loud noises, just not to the same degree as before. If I watch movies where I see someone fall off a building I find myself back at that place. My boyfriend is feeling a lot of the same things too. He was a paramedic in his earlier days and it brought back some of his own demons related to that. Add that to the stress of school and there we are. One day at a time is the only thing we can do. This website helps a lot and I'm glad there is something out there for the witnesses. Prior to this I would never have understood the effect of tragedy on strangers. I keep that unknown woman in my heart and try to take it as a life lesson. There is not anything that I am going through right now that would ever make that seem like that would be my only option. Life goes on even through the worst of events. Sorry for the diatribe and disjointed thoughts. I hope you are doing well and finding ways to move beyond this. I'm here for you too, we are in this together.

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    1. Deb -- I wanted to offer another resource. You can contact www.masspreventsuicide.org. Their suicide survivors section is very helpful. -- Catherine

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    2. Another resource is Mimi Elmer in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is a therapist who works with people dealing with suicide loss. Her number is 617-876-4488. She told me the After Suicide program is not running right now but she is available to help. I misspelled the web address for the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention. It is: masspreventssuicide.org.-- Catherine

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  32. I witnessed a suicide death at a train station in UK a couple of weeks ago. I believe I am responding reasonably healthily; I have had opportunities to talk to friends, and a counsellor, I have a supportive network around me. I am definitely taking good care of myself. I have been extremely frustrated though by the lack of 'aftercare' that I suppose I would have expected. Almost immediately, the station was cleared and people were left to find their way. I would have gladly stayed to ‘give evidence’, knowing that it would help my process, had anyone wanted that. I would have liked it if perhaps a room at the station could have been made available so that those who witnessed this tragic event (and there were a number of us) could if they wanted, stay for an hour and support one another. Since then, I have done what others on here have described, and searched for any information I can find about the woman who died that day, and I have had more luck than others; I know her name at least, and through her friends/family's 'unguarded' facebook pages, have seen photos, and been able to read comments about her and her death - this has all been very helpful. What I would like, is a group in which I feel I can speak freely about what I saw that day. I have a strong sense of not wanting to 'contaminate' those I love with the horrific images that I am left with. I was extremely lucky that my GP agreed to see me in the evening of the day it happened, and felt I could tell him, knowing he has seen horrific images of his own, but since then my computer has been the only one I feel I can share that with. I know enough about trauma to know that processing of the images of the event can be extremely helpful/necessary. There is a charity here that runs support groups for survivors of bereavement by suicide, but I don’t feel it would be appropriate for me to share that space; once again, the feeling of contamination. What they are experiencing is – I imagine – far more personal; I had never seen this woman before the moment she ran on the platform. And what I saw of her then, I would only want to share with others with similar images of their own, or family expressly looking for definitive answers to specific questions… and at a time when they are ready to hear it. There is so much tragedy in this one single event, let alone the countless others (around 300+ a year by train in UK alone) and so many people are experiencing it; those who knew and loved her, and those of us who only encountered her in the moment of her death. And I’m fairly sure that those of us in that second category at least, are each doing this separately, and alone, feeling not quite understood by anybody.
    Caz from UK, if you ever want to talk online or in person, perhaps there is a way we can share details through this site? I would also be happy to hear from anyone else in UK who has similar experience.

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  33. Dear Wendy: I am so sorry you had to go through this situation. It sounds like you are doing all the right things to help yourself. I had the same feelings of wanting help at the scene, and I, too, didn't receive any help. There simply isn't enough awareness yet about witness survivors and their immediate needs right after an incident. Please go to GriefToolbox.com and read my article in the Suicide Loss Section. I talk about the things someone can do to help a witness survivor. I was able to find a therapist for one-on-one therapy and also found a small private group of five witness survivors mediated by a therapist with a great deal of suicide bereavement experience. Hopefully, you can find something similar in the UK. I wish you all the best on your healing journey. -- Catherine Greenleaf

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  34. Thank you very much Catherine. If anyone from UK does want to get in touch, would you be able to mediate the confidential passing on of contact info?

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  35. Hi, Just found this website. English is not my first language. Anyway, a few weeks ago I witnessed a man suicide, we were standing at the zebra crossing in front of a speedway, only him and me and he decided to step onto the road suddenly at Red light... I gave evidence only yesterday because i had been shocked before and left the place after i had seen the hit. Everything happened 2,3 meters away from me and i have Been experiencing very strong fear, especially in the evening ever since. There were other people who saw it, the Police came imnediately but he was killed at instance. The image of the body is kind of getting dimmed every day but i dont seem to be Able to get rid of the fear.

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  36. I am so sorry you had to go through this situation. What you are relating in your message sounds normal for someone who has witnessed a suicide, especially at such close range. Fear is a normal response to danger. It will definitely help if you find a qualified professional to talk to about what you saw. Talking will help you process what you witnessed. If the fear starts to interfere with normal day-to-day functioning and the quality of your life, then you may want to also get screened for post-traumatic stress. Wishing you all the best. -- Catherine

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  37. 4-14-17
    The day my life changed forever my husband and i were into alot of unusual things i was laying in bed just had to getthrough the night and i was taking him to kentucky but he wouldnt leave because he had money owed to him and had been drinking way more than i wanted he was on pills self medication all the time i smoked weed and it obviouslg didnt help but at the end the night we were lying in bed just talking about the morning going to kentucky and i was kissing him and tried to hold him and he said i had hit a wrong trigger... He didnt like people staring at him so i had to roll over and look at the wall... And thsn he kept begging for the truth yet i didnt know what was the truth anymore... I kept talking andthe next thing i heard was him saying f this.... And i heard the gun shot... He hurt me more than ever because he begged me to let him go. I asked go where... If you wantto leave tonight we will. He just wouldnt he couldnt im terrified everyone is blaming me because lately we had been arguing over the tiniest things if i did anything if he didnt like it i couldnt do it if he didnt like my family or friends we couldnt talk i did beg for help from so many others and they all kept saying you married a man without knowing everythinf excuse me no i knew him i knew my husband i knew every single personality he had i tried so hard to understand and accept him all but i told him id never leave his side when maybe i should have let him go.
    I feel im to blame

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