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Going through a cutting phase as a kid


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I was severely depressed and suicidal as a child (approximately age 6-12). Lately I remembered that I also did a lot of cutting back then... never deep enough to require medical attention... but I used to cut in the same places all the time and I still have the scars. It was something that I did spontaneously on my own, did not know at the time that anyone else did it. I completely forgot about it because I have never had the desire to do it since then, even during subsequent severely depressed periods.

I guess I'm just wondering if there is anything significant about this, or if it's just some kind of phase that kids go through? Does it mean anything about what was going on in my life at the time? I have almost no memories of childhood at all, so I wonder a lot.

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I doubt that it is something for you to continue to worry about, especially since you say it is not a problem you deal with still. probably just a phase you went through. sometimes, tho not most of the time, it is just a phase, until something comes along that helps you cope better thn that. do you remember the mindset you had back then? like, did you do it when depressed, stressed, or overly excited?

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I really don't remember much about my emotions during those days. I guess I would say depressed, since it was just something that I did a lot of the time when I was alone, not when I was particularly excited or stressed. I do remember that I hated myself as a child and wanted to die (thought about it almost constantly, and attempted it too) and I think it was just an expression of that?

I am not concerned about doing this now, but am trying to figure out if there was something terribly wrong about my childhood that I don't remember. Therapists always ask me about whether I was abused as a child, because I behave in many ways like someone who was. I don't know if cutting is "normal" behavior for a kid to go through, or if it is a sign of something else. And if not "normal" I don't know if it would have had something to do with circumstances, or brain chemistry (or both I suppose). Just contemplating the question.

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Well, I'm bpII as well, and while I didn't cut, I would sometimes hit my head hard with a hairbrush - hard enough to give me headaches and a big knot that the hair would cover. I would also sometimes bite my arm. My childhood was not too terrible - your normal dysfunctional family. Did more of the head knotting during my semi-suicidal depression in high school.

FYI, both my kids last year felt very badly about themselves - the kindergartner even said he wanted to kill himself (at school, no less). Over the summer, they were both dx'd ADHD, and this year, now that they are on meds, they are happy as clams. Pedi said people with ADHD can sometimes feel badly about themselves since they feel different, out of control, getting in trouble a lot, etc. I mention it because I saw "adhd symptoms" in your signature.

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I burned as an adolescent and sometimes wondered if I met BPD criteria but I really don't.... It was just a dysfunctional coping method for my extremely severe mood and SA problems. I've had a battery of psych testing and never met critera so that's how I KNOW, heh, but that's beside the point.

it's important to remember that cutting doesn't always equal abuse does not always equal bpd and whatnot.

My desires to cut/burn have never reoccured and haven't been a problem for me since getting tx for my BP.

Anna

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Oh I know I don't meet criteria for BPD and didn't as a child / adolescent either. I was not thinking along those lines. I "just" had mood issues.

It's useful to know other BP folks did stuff like that when young. Thanks Anna and Odetta for your stories.

Odetta I have a kid in K as well and have been worried about him, as he has become quite rigid, explosive and ragey at times. I really hope he has not inherited stuff from me... I am glad to hear your kids are doing well on meds.

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Most kids don't self-harm unless they have something emotionally disturbing going on. I'd say that's significant.

I did as a child. I have a BPD dx that neither I nor my psychiatrist6 buy. But anywho, I did from 6 to 23. I had some shit going on, and it took some meds and therapy to get things straightened out.

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I self harmed as an older child. I had a pretty terrible home life. I suppose if you had mental health issues as a kid, it follows that you might self harm, even though it's not a natural stage for all kids.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I, too, started self-harming young. Around 12, I think. However, I tried it mostly out of curiosity, to be honest. All those Health classes in middle school educated me about cutting, so one day when I was really upset I tried it. It didn't really become a habit for me until recently, it was on/off for years. At one point I had gone around a year-ish without cutting.

In my opinion, knowing and hearing about cutting was what put it in my mind, which made it easier, obviously, to start at a young age. And when you start something so young, it's harder to kick, because it's been a part of your life, even if just a small part, and having that kind of thing in the back of your mind always makes it easier to start again. I also like to think of it as gritting your teeth or punching something when you're mad - it's a physical release. So, as a kid, this might just mean you didn't know any better and did it like someone might throw stuff when they're upset.

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