Cuts don't heal wounds

"Cuts don't heal wounds." That was my recovery mantra, the phrase I coined for myself. I wrote it everywhere. It was on my mirror, my notebooks, random sheets of paper, sticky notes, my wall... everywhere I might look during a moment of struggle. Cuts don't heal wounds. A reminder that the superficial infliction on my skin, over and over again, would never heal the wounds of trauma that sat much deeper than my blade could reach. While my cuts expressed on my body what my words failed to relay, it did nothing towards my healing and recovery. Instead I dug deeper into a place of pain and despair, which at the time, felt inescapable. Today, almost fifteen years post suicide attempt, without a single cut since, I still so vividly remember.


A close friend once explained to me that you don't chose when you break down, you just do. This freed up so much guilt that plagued my mind for many years, and offered me a deeper realization. We need to be prepared to see the signs, so that we can help others in times of need, in hopes to prevent those breaking moments. A few years back I heard the statistic that most suicide attempts occur in the month of April versus any other month of the year, a statistic that still holds true. I was immediately overcome with shock that a single month held so much weight to so many, and was also the month of my own suicide attempt. So, since it's the month of April, I wanted to share with you what you can look for in those who may need your help according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.


*Talking about being a burden, being trapped, experiencing unbearable pain, having no reason to live, and/or killing themselves

*Increased use of alcohol/drugs

*Behaving recklessly

*Sleeping too much or too little

*Giving away possessions

*Isolating themselves

*Withdrawing from previously enjoyed activities

*Searching for a means to kill themselves

*Aggression, depression, and/or anxiety

*Irritable, withdrawn, and/or isolated


What are the factors that put some at a higher risk for suicide? 

*Mental health conditions

*Substance misuse

*Serious or chronic health condition

*Stressful life event/trauma

*Prolonged stress

*Previous suicide attempt or family history


It's important to have an open and honest discussion with someone you feel may be considering suicide. They may not want to discuss it or seek professional help, but offering your support and encouragement can go a long way for someone. Knowing that you're there for them when they are ready to talk is important. Keep checking in with them regularly, and continue to offer love and understanding. For help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741-741.


Yet, what about after a suicide attempt? Speaking from personal experience I can say that having a strong and loving support system who helped me along the way not only led to my recovery, it kept me from slipping back into my old ways of managing challenges in life. I learned new ways to cope with issues and stress, I started over to build new relationships, and I found ways to stay busy. All these years later, no one would know the plague of my past. My physical cuts have faded, I've established a healthier coping system, I have a family I'm responsible for caring for, and I like to think that I'm successful in my career. Unfortunately, this is not the fate for all of those who have made a suicide attempt. 


So ask yourself, who needs you today? Just a few kind words can change someone's world.


Also, check out the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website at for more information.