Coping with the death of my best friend

Jacob lost his best friend to suicide at 16. Here he describes how it affected him, and what his grief felt like.

I have lost many close friends and family in my life.

Every time it happened I found myself feeling like I was walking through sand. The walking got harder and I found myself getting very irritable and upset at the smallest of things, from my mobile running out of charge to there not being enough bread to make a sandwich.

I have lost people to cancer and suicide and I now realise that there is no right way to grieve and nor is there a right amount of time to process the loss.

To me, grief is like a crazy rollercoaster of emotions all scattered on the floor. It’s a rush of all these feelings, from anger, frustration and upset.

I now realise that there is no right way to grieve

When I lost my best friend to suicide, at 16 years old, I had panic attacks and walked out of lessons at college, flooded in oceans of guilt and upset.

I went from being a very hard-working media student to not caring. Nothing seemed important now, nothing seemed worth my time. At college I would be sat in class falling asleep, never meeting a deadline and being fixated on the loss, feeling like I could have done something differently to prevent it.

I became very distant and didn’t put much effort into my work. It wasn’t until my tutor spoke to me and said that he thought I might be depressed, that I realised I had hit such a low.

During that time I was becoming acutely aware that I should talk to someone.

I became very distant

I reached out to my GP who was very useful in supporting me.

I found a counsellor, which has been a lifesaver for me in getting me back on my feet, learning how to manage my grief whilst keeping the memories of my friend alive. For me, poetry and writing has helped me the most in coming to terms with the loss, and has helped me to express how I am feeling in a way that although might be abstract, I find more manageable. Here is one below:

"The moment I heard of my friend’s passing it was like a pause in a moment of time, the bustling streets were now hollow, the screams of help were muffled in the distance. The shattered glass looking in the mirror seeing someone I once knew but was now broken, a maze of guilt, flooded in confusion, upset and anger. Guilt is a funny thing, its unbearable, almost takes over like a rush of adrenaline but gives you a real perspective on how much something affects you, it’s a normal part of the grieving process especially after losing someone to suicide. The traffic lights are red for far too long, the traffic is building, it’s chaotic, the rush hour race to get home. Retracing my steps on high alert, analysing my every step trying to trace what I feel I missed, the silent cries for help, the search for missing pieces of the puzzle. The taste of the fresh air now bitter, the wind now extra cold with anger like a volcano flowing out at the silliest of things. Once motivated but now still with the only want is to see him again, nothing else seems important and with my head on my desk at college I dream, I dream of what could have been. I now know there was nothing I could have done, the puzzle will always be unfinished, but I know he would want me to be happy, to drive home and live my life. He’s at peace, perfect peace. His life will forever live on, those lovely memories will forever shine bright and there’s many more people out there on the same path who I can help feel the warmth again. Losing someone to suicide is heart-breaking, the worst pain I have ever felt but it gets easier, the walking gets less heavy."

Where to get help

If you have been bereaved, or experienced a loss, visit our Find Help: Grief and Loss guide with advice and places you can find help. 

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