WHAT IS WRAP ?
WRAP is a tried and tested way to aid your recovery and make your life the way YOU want it to be. WRAP is unique to you and can therefore be in any format you choose. Most WRAPs include wellness tools and things to do on a daily basis to maintain your wellness.
They also include triggers and signs that things are not going well for you right now, followed by details of how you might be able to respond positively to these signs. WRAPs can also contain crisis plans to let others know how they can best support you during really difficult times.
WRAP was first developed by a group of people who had been dealing with difficult feelings and behaviours for years. It helped them and it can help you.
THE FIVE KEY AREAS THAT FEED INTO WRAP
There are five key ideas that feed into WRAP which are outlined below:
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.
In the words of Albert Einstein:-
“Learn from yesterday. Live for today. Hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
Remember…. No one is beyond hope. There are no limits...... You can do it.
It is up to you to take personal responsibility for your own wellness and your own life. Sometimes this means taking back control that you have lost in the past.
Those of us who take back this control and accept this responsibility achieve the highest levels of wellness, happiness, and life satisfaction.
In the words of Sigmund Freud:-
“Freedom involves responsibility”
Remember…….You are the expert on yourself.
Information helps us to figure out what will work for us and the steps we need to take on our own behalf. We can do this by:-
Involving ourselves with the Recovery College and joining support groups
Reviewing educational resources (articles, books, newsletters, useful websites etc)
Talking to other people who have similar experiences
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi:-
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”
Remember…..to learn all you can about yourself.
Each of us must advocate for ourselves to get what it is we need and deserve. You can do this by:-
Knowing your rights and insisting that they are respected
Setting goals and working towards meeting them
In the words of Lady Gaga:-
“I learned that my sadness never destroyed what was great about me. You just have to go back to that greatness, find that one little light that’s left. I’m lucky I found a glimmer stored away”
Remember………To believe in yourself
Being effectively supported will help you feel better.
You will benefit from having good friends you can call on when you want or need:-
To have a good time
Someone to talk to
Help with decision making
Someone to take over for you when you can’t do it yourself
In the words of Bear Grylls:-
“A man’s pride can be his downfall. He needs to learn when to turn to others for support and guidance”
Remember…….To seek companionship
UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENT SECTIONS OF A WRAP PLAN
Here is a short Guide to the different sections that normally feature in a WRAP Plan:
The Wellness Toolbox
The first section of WRAP is called the Wellness Toolbox, a collection of safe self-help tools we set in place to guide us through bad times when it’s hard to think straight.
Basically wellness tools are the things we do to help us feel better; some of my own coping strategies include expressing my emotions, sitting in my massage chair or playing my clarinet.
You will have wellness tools unique to you but there may also be strategies you might want to try that you’ve never done before.
Think outside the box.
You deserve to feel good so what things might you like to try?
I keep my Wellness Toolbox stuck on my fridge but I know of people who have literally made their own soothe box containing things like paints, CD’s, inspirational quotes and even a twenty pound note (handy when all you want to do is eat a nice takeaway!)
Remember that recovery evolves over time. When we’re finding things tough we might use different coping strategies to the ones we may use further along our journey.
So don’t place unreasonable pressure on yourself to do too much too soon. As you learn more about yourself and what makes you feel good you may want to add to or change your Wellness Toolbox.
How do you look and feel when you are engaging in a wellness tool, having a good day and feeling like everything is okay? What do you need to do regularly to stay well?
The answers to these questions will make up your Daily Maintenance Plan.
If you’re anything like me you may find it tricky to describe yourself in positive terms, so ask a loved one how they perceive you when you are doing a wellness tool.
Do they describe you as fun-loving, calm and relaxed?
Or maybe cheerful and thoughtful. Write down what they say and when you are feeling low remind yourself that it will pass; remind yourself of what you are like when you are well.
Also list the simple things you might need to do every day to stay as well as you can. For me that’s eating well, taking my medication and getting some fresh air.
Other things on my Daily Maintenance Plan include doing stuff I don’t always want to do, like keeping on top of household chores, making sure I’ve paid my bills and keeping in touch with friends.
That gives me a sense of achievement.
The Remaining Sections
The remaining sections of WRAP can be more tricky to complete because they involve thinking about your uncomfortable feelings and how best to respond to them.
I find it helpful to chat with those closest to me when I am completing these sections of WRAP because when things are becoming tough, others’ may notice signs before we notice them ourselves. Also loved ones may be able to suggest ways to make us feel better which we never even thought of.
For me Triggers are situations which remind me of an unhappy or hurtful experience within my life.
Before I developed my own WRAP my triggers would send me spiralling out of control. Now I can respond quickly to triggers, choosing from a variety of options depending on what the trigger is. You can do the same.
For example you might use writing to help you cope when you come into contact with things that remind you of abandonment.
Or you might avoid watching the news if current events are triggering you. Or you might plan ahead for difficult times, doing something you enjoy when times are tough.
Try to find new ways of responding to troubling situations.
Early Warning Signs
Early Warning Signs are the signs that tell you and others you are not feeling at your best.
People you know may have noticed these signs. You are slipping.
You might be ignoring your Wellness Toolbox or avoiding doing things on your Daily Maintenance List.
My early warning signs include anxiety, lack of motivation and ignoring my phone. Whatever your signs, DO NOT IGNORE THEM.
Don’t be afraid of your feelings. Talk to someone you can trust and push yourself to do the things you know keep you well, even though you don’t feel like it.
When Things are Breaking Down
When Things are Breaking Down you feel yourself sliding and your coping strategies may be ineffective. Loved ones may tell you that your behaviour is unusual or troubling.
Talk with them about the signs that indicate you need to take action and decide what might be helpful for you in this situation.
My signs include feeling overwhelmed and fragile, being obsessed with negative thoughts and feeling numb.
Sometimes I have thoughts of wanting to hurt myself. Yes the crisis team or the Samaritans might be useful at such times.
However are there any wellness tools you could use instead?
I rely on my loved ones if things are breaking down, asking them to stay with me and to take over some household responsibilities.
I am no longer frightened of my own discomfort because I know it will pass.
The crisis plan is an important part of your WRAP because it tells others how they can best help us when we are struggling to take care of ourselves.
It takes the guess work out of the equation if we are clear about our wants and needs within the plan.
Make sure others know you have a crisis plan to follow and give them a copy.
Include a description of behaviours others would notice that would let them know we are in need of support.
List people you want to be involved in your care. Document medications that have been helpful or unhelpful in the past.
State whether a hospital admission would be beneficial to you or whether you would feel better being cared for in familiar surroundings amongst people who know you well.
Think carefully about what others can do to support you through this difficult time.
For example I like to be held tightly when I am in crisis but you may prefer not to be touched at all.
On a more practical level you might want to include a list of responsibilities a loved one could take over, for example feeding your cat or going shopping for you.
No matter how awful you feel, your crisis will pass.
Remember this when you write your plan and note down how others will know that the plan is no longer needed. Then go back to square one and focus on your wellness tools.
Example and Blank WRAP Plans for you to use
Below are some blank WRAP Plans for you to use, and a filled in plan as an example. Please click the image on the tight to download the Plan you want to Download.