WRAP: Wellness Recovery Action Plan – Day One

Hello! I have just returned home from the first day of a four day course on Wellness Recovery Action Planning, and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about it – before I forget them!

I’ve been attending Recovery College courses since April 2017, which was early in my recovery from severe depression and anxiety. Over the last two and a bit years, I’ve learned a lot about mental health, wellness, recovery and myself. When I saw that a WRAP course was running nearby, I almost didn’t sign up for it because I thought: I’m doing well now. I’m a good way into my recovery journey. This course might have been helpful two years ago, but I’m not so sure how helpful it would be today. But, I did sign up for it, mainly because I always learn something helpful from Recovery College courses and have never regretted going. So, today I went along to Day 1 of Seminar 1, and I’m really glad I did because from what I can tell, it will help me reflect on all I’ve learned since early 2017 and act as a welcome pit stop on my recovery journey.

So, onto the course itself …

At the beginning of the day, we thought about what we wanted to get out of the course. For me, I’d like to reflect on my journey so far. I’d also like to refresh my knowledge, review my wellness habits and think about where I want my mental health to go and how I might get it there. Basically, I want to consolidate my recovery and wellness. As well as developing a WRAP for my mental health, I’m also thinking I could develop a WRAP for my physical health, which has taken something of a backseat to my mental health. I’m pretty sure the principles of WRAP will be applicable.

So, what is WRAP?

If you’d like a brief (4 minute) overview of WRAP, then watch this video by Mary Ellen Copeland, the creator of WRAP.

In a nutshell, there are seven sections of WRAP:

  1. Wellness Toolkit
  2. Daily Maintenance Plan
  3. Triggers
  4. Early Warning Signs
  5. When Things Are Breaking Down
  6. Crisis Plan
  7. Post Crisis Plan

And there are five WRAP concepts or themes:

  1. Hope
  2. Personal Responsibility
  3. Self-Advocacy
  4. Education
  5. Support

Today, we started looking at Hope and the Wellness Toolkit. I’ve written a lot about Hope, and I’m running the Finding Hope Challenge at the moment, so this session was well timed for me! We discussed the concept of Hope being something that we can lose, but that it’s also something we can regain. We also talked about how it can be a good idea to align our hopes with the stage we’re at in our recovery. When you’re feeling hopeless, having someone tell you that it will all be okay might not be helpful, as the idea is just too far removed from where you are, but setting your sights on getting out of bed might be more realistic and helpful. That’s not to say that having Hope for the future isn’t important. In fact, when we can’t see beyond the now, having supporters who can hold that hope for us can be really important. Now might be all about surviving, but eventually, now will be more about thriving. The message of today’s seminar was: there is much to hope for!

You can get well and stay well for long periods of time.

You can work toward and meet your goals.

You can lead a happy and productive life.

You don’t need, nor will you benefit from, dire predictions about your future.

Your supporters and care providers need to:

  • encourage you
  • help you to feel better
  • assist and support you in staying well.

As a group, we looked at some symbols of Hope and each chose one that spoke to us. We then shared with each other. I chose the symbol of a shell because the beach and the sea is something that gives me a lot of hope. I talked about sea glass, about how glass goes into the sea all broken and jagged with lots of sharp edges, but after it’s been tossed around in the sea, all its sharp and jagged edges are worn away until your are left with a beautiful, frosted pebble. To me, that’s very Hopeful.

After that, we moved on to the concept of Personal Responsibility and shared ways in which we take responsibility for our recovery and wellness. Things that came up included: taking medication, eating, sleeping, saying no, going on courses. This led us onto a rather unruly game of Pictionary, in which we took turns to draw pictures of things that contribute to our wellness and invited the other students to guess what they were. Mine was a paintbrush and pallet – no surprise there!

At the end of the day, we started to think about the concept of having a Wellness Toolkit in which we keep our Wellness Tools – things we do to keep ourselves well, and things we do to help us feel better when we’re not feeling well. This week’s homework is to read handouts about different Wellness Tools so that we can talk about them in the next session. The topic I chose was Relaxation and Stress Reduction Exercises, so next week I’ll be sharing my notes and some personal examples with the other students – and with you too.

So, that’s it for now. I’ll be back next week with my thoughts on WRAP Day 2.

Thanks for stopping by! xxx

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