You have experienced a devastating loss, and everything hurts.

You may feel like you cannot cope. This is normal. You may have signs of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). This, too, is normal after violent loss. Over time new feelings will also emerge. But right now you are just looking for ways to cope with the pain.

Remember that young people grieve differently than adults and need their own grief process and space. Our Family Support Specialists can help you find resources for the young immediate survivors in your family. Families, as the essential human community, experience violent loss together. Chicago Survivors serves the family as a whole as well as its individual members.

Here are some suggestions from other survivors about how to cope:

It is okay not to feel okay. Your feelings are not “right” or “wrong.” Grief, anger, guilt, despair – these are all normal. If you hold your feelings in, it can cause serious health problems. Let your feelings out; share them with someone you trust. Cry when you need to.

Be kind to yourself. Some days will be more difficult than others. Take small steps and be patient with yourself. Eventually you will become stronger.

Try relaxing activities. Listen to music. Try journaling. Draw. Read (but violent books). Take a warm shower. Try meditation or prayer. Try yoga or kickboxing. Breathe, breathe, breathe. You can, and will, survive.

You are not alone. You may feel all alone, even when people who love you are near. They care, but they may not understand how you feel. Don’t isolate yourself. Chicago Survivors has a Community of Survivors, a place of safety, understanding and mutual support. It is a good place to start.

Ask for help when you need it. Accept help from those who offer. Relatives and friends want to help, but may not know what to do until you tell them what you need. Professional help is also available to work through the trauma and feelings. Chicago Survivors can help with a referral for counseling.

Get plenty of rest, try to eat right and exercise. Your body and emotions are intertwined. It is normal to have trouble sleeping and eating. Take little steps to take care of your body in order start to feel better.

Be aware of increased grief around holidays, the birthday and the anniversary of your loved one. Make a plan for those days. No one can ever take away the love you have for your loved one. Chicago Survivors can help you choose ways to honor and remember your loved one.

Pain is only masked for a moment by drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, there is no way to escape the pain of losing someone you love. Take advantage of the Chicago Survivors services, which include workshops that can give you more coping tools and techniques to deal with panic attacks, depression and empowerment to find a voice in your experience.



Crisis Helpline: 877.863.6338


It’s free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also get help by calling our office at (312) 488.9222.