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All I Can Be and Mental Health Stigma

AVATAR2 PPI Consultant Nicola shares some poetry about part of her experiences living with schizophrenia.

Hi! My name is Nicola, and I am one of the PPI consultants for the AVATAR2 trial and received Avatar Therapy during the first trial. Since having the therapy, I have felt more confident to share my experience and challenges with others of living with paranoid schizophrenia. I attend the creative workshop alongside other PPI members on the trial, where a large focus has been on poetry writing. I had not written poems before but through this workshop, I have gained the confidence to share my lived experience with schizophrenia through writing. It is also amazing and encouraging to hear other members share their poems about their lives and experiences.

Here is a piece I wrote early hours of the morning when I felt inspired to write about my experience. It is called “All I Can Be” …

All I Can Be

Voices are part of me

I’m trying to cling onto reality

Trying to be me

All I can be

The psychosis feels like some sort of hypnosis

I feel hopeless, worthless, unable to focus.

Am I enough?

All I can be

Hallucinations, I hear their constant conversation

Is it real or my imagination?

Please set me free

All I can be

Delusions, confusion, takes me back to my lonely seclusion

It’s a painful reality

All I can be

Demons rule, everything is cruel

They control me, hear me, they see it all

Struggling to be me

All I can be


Here is a piece I wrote about an experience I had in the workplace which I called “Stigma At Work” …

Stigma At Work

My new boss

My schizophrenia, I did disclose

Your misunderstanding

Your face just froze

Phoning my support worker for no reason at all

Wanting to send me home, “It’s safeguarding, it’s the rule”

You said, “Let me know if you’re going to attack me”

You lied, you deceived, you lost your integrity

A barrage of insults, you continued to persist

Telling lies of missed deadlines that didn’t exist

Coming to work with deep trepidation

I’m not ready for your onslaught of intimidation

You didn’t win, you picked on the vulnerable

You didn’t admit it, you hid it, you were culpable

My work there is done, over 15 years

My mind more important than a career

- Nicola 😊

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