Life since Avatar Therapy
PPI consultant shares some positive changes that have occurred since receiving Avatar Therapy.
I was a participant in the first Avatar trial, which happened 5 years ago and it really helped to open so many new doors for me. This blog is all about my onward journey to hopefully getting completely better, as I suffer from psychosis.
In this blog I am going to talk to you about the fact that I can now go to football matches, which I never thought would be conceivable in my wildest dreams.
I now go to watch Sutton United and Charlton Athletic play home and away games with my Dad and my eldest nephew. We have always been a really close family, but I now feel my bonds with them are even closer as we can share something special in supporting the same teams and the absolute joy when one of our teams wins a game. I know they say football fans are kind of tribal, and it is very true as sharing the absolute jubilation that a member of your team has scored the winning goal, or even a goal, is immensely satisfying.
I remember going to my first ever Charlton Athletic game. I must note that the crowd was only ever this big when we were doing really well and were in the Championship. Where there were regularly crowds of 25,000 people at some stages. I was really nervous when I entered the ground as to me it was a huge place. We took our seats and I remember feeling a little claustrophobic as there were people all around me with nearly all seats taken. When the game started, the Charlton fans started chanting and I felt it was a really exhilarating experience. When the referee made a decision that did not go our way, I remember the fans shouting a torrent of abuse at the poor referee or one of his two assistants. I calmly looked around and was able to distinguish the fact that the fans were not looking in my direction, they were not interested in me at all, they were only interested in what was occurring on the pitch, and their abusive comments were directed at the referee or one of his assistants and not at me.
I believe I mentioned in a previous blog post that thanks to the avatar therapy I received, the voices in my head appeared to sound computerised, I found this enabled me able to distinguish the voices in my head from those around me in the Home fans stand and rationalise that they would not be shouting abuse at me. Why would they be shouting at me when we were supporting the same team? I believe I was able to work all this out thanks to the avatar therapy.
"avatar therapy played such an important role in enabling me to enjoy things"
I must stress that this did not happen overnight and sometimes I have heard the occasional abusive voice at a game. However, the more I persisted in going to the games and concentrating on the football, the more I was able to watch the whole game, which lasts up to 100 minutes. As I became able to get a clear spell lasting that whole time, so my enjoyment of the games increased further.
Now I just take every game in my stride and feel very sorry for the poor referees and assistants as some of the abuse they suffer from aggrieved football fans is quite shocking.
I hope this blog has helped people see how avatar therapy played such an important role in enabling me to enjoy things which, before, I would have been too worried or scared to do. I know that it is only my individual experience, but I can imagine that the therapy might help other people who suffer from psychosis to broaden their interests and activities and benefit from similar enjoyment which I have found.