Learning new ways to cope


As a child, Dani always felt she was different and struggled to make friends. At about 14 she started to self-harm. The Crisis team helped Dani get her life back on track and she learnt different techniques to cope.

Over the years I’ve learnt to use different techniques for coping. If I’ve had a bad day I write in my diary

Dani Rose’s story

“I always knew I was different, even as a young child, by the time I was 14 I knew for sure. I had hardly any ‘real’ friends and hated talking to people I didn’t know. Around this age, I started to self-harm. For me, it was a way of releasing the pain and stress I felt inside but I was just replacing one type of pain for another.

Over the next 4 years, I began to hear voices. They would tell me to hurt people who were close to me. Instead, I would punch myself in the face or cut myself, I did it so much that it became normal, my arms looked horrible. Things got increasingly worse, not only for me but for my family, especially for my younger sister. I was violent to her when the voices told me to hurt somebody, I saw her as an easy target.

One day we were fighting over whose turn it was to use the computer. The voice in my head was more real than I had ever heard it, it told me she couldn’t treat me this way and she had to be punished. I was too scared to say no. I threw a chair at her and violently attacked her. I was becoming a monster, I couldn’t control the voices never mind my own anger. I desperately didn’t want to be that person so I took an overdose. My sister phoned an ambulance and I was taken to hospital.

When I woke the next day a woman from Crisis came to talk to me. I told her that I wanted to die to save other people from harm. Someone from Crisis came to see me every day at home for the next 3 weeks, then I got passed to the Insight team. At this time I got diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome a form of Autism, suddenly things started to make sense. I was also put on medication to help with the voices.

Three months passed and I decided that I no longer wanted to take the medication, I longed to be ‘normal’ like my friends. That’s when I took my second overdose, I didn’t do it because the voices told me to, I did it because I couldn’t deal with what was going on in my life. I took a lot more this time and even wrote a note, luckily for me a friend found me in time. I spent three days on a drip and found out later that I was four hours away from death.

It’s now three years on from my suicide attempts and even though I’ve not fully recovered mentally I’m getting there. With help from Insight and their activity groups, my confidence has grown as well as my self-esteem. It’s not happened overnight and I’ve had to work hard to get where I am today. I’ve learnt how to deal with difficult situations in a different way, last year I stopped self-harming, I’m no longer on medication and the voices have gone. I use techniques such as taking myself away from situations where I might lose control, being able to walk away from these situations was just the start.

Over the years I’ve learnt to use different techniques for coping. If I’ve had a bad day I write in my diary, it feels like I’m telling someone and it helps the trouble to go away. I have a ‘good memory wall’ as well. I’ve covered one wall in my room with photos of good times so I can look at them when I’m having a bad moment and remember that this one moment will pass.

Its’ not been a smooth road to recovery, I’ve hit a few speed bumps along the way. I was violently attacked which caused me to suffer from PTSD and a close family member died. These were the hardest things in my life I’ve ever had to cope with but somehow I battled through it and have come out of it stronger.

As well as a change in confidence I’ve had a change in image. I take more pride in appearance and have more respect for myself. I now know nobody is what they call normal or perfect and everyone is different. I don’t regret taking overdoses or self-harming as if I didn’t I wouldn’t be where I am today. I believe everything happens for a reason, good or bad. I’m now looking into getting a job helping people in the situation I used to be in. After all, I know what they’re going through, just giving back what I received in the past is what I want to do.”