A picture of a group of men consoling one another

"It’s important to grieve, but grieving isn’t easy to do. "

About Andy:
I’m passionate about health, wellness, and spiritual growth. I’m an Internet entrepreneur. I produce and direct music videos on the side. I’m also a veteran skydiver with just under 1000 jumps,  and often do camera work for the drop zone I jump at.

I put myself in rehab when I was 18 and haven’t drank since.


Losing someone in your life to suicide is devastating. The confluence of many difficult emotions that one has to contend with – shock, disbelief, anguish, longing, searching, anger, fear, anxiety, and sadness – is damn tough. I’ve lost seven people in my life to suicide (6 of them men). I’ve been through the wringer with these losses, and through the process of trying to make sense of my experiences, I have gained some insights that I thought may be worth sharing.

Here’s what I learned.

Grieving is tough but necessary

It’s important to grieve, but grieving isn’t easy to do. For me, I prided myself as being a tough-as-nails hombre. I put up an emotional brick wall that kept my feelings out of sight and out of mind. The problem with this is that the feelings just festered inside. I knew something wasn’t right and that I needed to deal with the shit I stowed away, but I didn’t know how – that brick wall was too damn thick. I tried conventional treatment, but nothing seemed to work. Eventually, I tried a planned and guided psilocybin experience to tackle and knock down the emotional brick wall that was preventing me from grieving. I recognize that this type of intervention isn’t meant for everyone, but for me, the experience was deep and profound, and provided what I needed. Alcohol and hard drugs are not a solution, as they close off the emotions you need to reach and manage.

That breakthrough experience and the work that I’ve done since has allowed me to be more attuned to my feelings and those of others. I notice sadness more in people and that sadness is universal. People need to know that they are not alone, that they are not the only person suffering – we all have had experiences that cause some type of pain.

Pay attention to people in your life

We could all benefit from being more attentive to those around us. And not just our circle of friends, but everyone.

From time-to-time, do check-ins with people you know. They don’t need to be dramatic deep check-ins. More like … How are you doing? How is life treating you? Things feeling light or a little heavy?

When someone listens to you, it feels good to be heard and understood, and sometimes that’s all you need.

When you’re having conversations with people, be present, really pay attention. I think for many of us, our minds are often divided, multi-tasking or caught up in our own stuff, so that we fail to be truly in the moment with the person we’re conversing with. With some of my friends who took their lives, hints were dropped in conversations, but these hints weren’t caught. It was only after looking back, reflecting, that I was able to recognize those moments for what they were.

This brings me to another realization – you cannot understand everything that is going on in a person’s head, so don’t blame yourself for failure to recognize signals/signs of distress or suicidality. But when you hear words that may indicate a person’s life is tilted in the wrong direction, keep tossing them a ball – and keep tossing – and hopefully they catch it and open up.

Be intentional with self-care

I’m a mid-40’s guy and I have made a great many changes in my life. Experiencing so much loss in my life felt like playing dodgeball with grenades. I wasn’t prepared to handle such tough stuff and it took a toll on me. I needed to change and I wanted to change – to become the best version of myself – to be resilient, caring, empathic, and compassionate. It was hard work.  I now have a comfort level with my emotions that did not exist 15 years ago. It puts me in a better place. To stay in a better place, I regularly listen to the Sam Harris podcast and I highly recommend a book titled Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. Be curious about yourself, believe that you deserve good health and happiness, try new things, build a good support team (friends, family, mentors, peer support, therapists), and be kind to yourself and others.


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For more information on suicide prevention see our Guide to Preventing Suicide and Suicidal Thoughts.