I finished WRAP yesterday, I got to do it as part of the Eden Programme I’m doing with Suicide or Survive. I was extremely skeptical initially, primarily down to the name of the programme (WRAP stands for wellness recovery action planning) which I realise is a fairly epic example of judging a book by its cover. I’m wary of the word recovery as I feel it’s very loaded, and I just plain don’t like the word wellness. I told them as much on the first day four weeks ago, and as usual when I’m told something will be helpful, I was determined it wasn’t going to work for me.

I was wrong. The first day saw us exploring the the key concepts of WRAP (hope, personal responsibility, education, self advocacy, support) which was interesting in it’s own right, as again these are words that I feel carry a lot of weight when it comes to talking about mental health. Yesterday we started looking at developing our wellness toolbox (the very name sends shivers up my spine but I got over it), which is essentially a list of things I can do to keep myself well, and things I can do to make myself feel better when I start to take a dip. Titles aside, this was really worth doing, as it helped me realise just how many options I actually have for a bad day, including things that I wouldn’t typically think of.

We then moved on to action plans. First was the daily maintenance plan which includes details of how I look and behave when I’m well, alongside things that I need to do every day to try and stay well, and optional extras that can be used on a weekly/fortnightly/monthly basis basis to help keep me going. Next was identifying triggers and how to deal with them, signs that things are getting worse and steps that must be taken at that point, and finally, crisis planning – what a crisis looks like, what I need to get through it and what happens when the crisis has passed.

I sat down this morning to work out my various plans, and it proved to be such a worthwhile exercise that I’ve given the whole lot a dedicated page. If it’s on the blog, I can access it whenever I need it, but I also think it might be helpful for you to see what WRAP looks like, particularly if you’re as skeptical as I tend to be about these things. It just makes sense. Even something as simple as listing my triggers was really useful, because this evening when I found myself getting agitated and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of noise in my house (extra kids, dogs, hubby working with a drill) I was able to recognise it and realise that I needed to take a step back.

What’s even more useful is that I can go through all of it with Hubby and my family. I wrote the plans while I was in a really good frame of mind (chances are they’d look different if I wrote them this evening as I’m now tired and escaping overwhelm) so I know that despite how it may feel at the time, every step that I have listed is for the best. I’ve no doubt that it will be challenging to put all of this into practice, but even having given it those few hours this morning the ideas are fixed more firmly in my mind. It was also really reassuring to realise that I do have quite a few strategies I can use when I’m not doing so well, and that I have a good awareness of what my triggers are. Although to be fair, if I couldn’t recognise them at this point………….!!

Anyway, despite all my misgivings, I’m really, really glad I had the opportunity to do WRAP, particularly as it ties in so well with everything I’m doing with Therapist 2.0. I can hand on heart say that I would recommend this programme to anyone, not just those struggling with mental health issues. We all have things that wind us up, we all have ways of coping that are less than helpful, and none of us know what life is going to throw at us. Surely having a plan in place is a smart move?

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