When you are dealing with challenges in your own life, educate yourself about the possible causes of these issues, and what can be done to relieve and eliminate them. Begin by identifying issues you want to work on. Then use the ideas in this article to educate yourself about the issue.
It used to be assumed that people who were having challenges in their lives could not help themselves, and that we needed to follow directives from authority figures. Now we know that it is not true. Everyone can learn and benefit from that learning. And we need to make good decisions for ourselves based on good information.
If you are having a difficult time and can’t educate yourself right now, ask a trusted supported to help you do this. Educating yourself is particularly important when a health care provider suggests a medication or invasive treatment that has potential side effects or that doesn’t feel right to you. It is also essential when you are working on life changes like weight loss, increasing exercise or smoking cessation.
When you reach out for help, others will give you ideas on what to do. Before taking any action or choosing any wellness tools, check them out or have your supporter check them out. Find out as much as you can. Ask your physician and other health care provides for information. Go on the internet and find out all you can. Visit your library and look things up. Ask peers who have had similar issues. A well-educated approach will help you reach your WRAP goals.
Following are some excellent sources of information:
- An internet search (bookmark websites that you find to be most useful for motivation and easy reference)
- Local wellness centers
- Health newsletters, both online and paper (you can sign up for these online)
- Support groups
- Health care providers
- CDs and DVDs
- People who have similar issues
In doing your search, be cautious: It is not safe to share personal information on the computer – if personal information is required to access a site, choose another site.
Although the internet can be a great source of inspiration, there is a lot of information on the internet that is not true, is only partially true, or that is advertising a particular product. Also the internet can be very negative and make it difficult to discern what is relevant information. Before deciding you agree with information you find online, check to see where the advice came from. Is it from an individual whose background is well known? Is it a national organization that has a good reputation and a philosophy you agree with? Is it sponsored by a company that wants to sell you a product? Is it from a respected hospital or university? Does it feel right to you? If you are still not sure whether the information is accurate, ask several of your friends and/or a health care provider that you respect.
Once you have gathered the information and studied it, talk to people whose opinions you trust about what you have learned. Pay close attention to how you feel about what you are doing. Don’t make any decisions until you feel ready to do so. A small start is still a start. Again, make sure what you are doing what feels right to you.
It helps to set up an organizational system so that you can easily access information once you have found it, even information that you don’t need right now (it may be useful at some other time). This is easy to do on your computer using bookmarks and folders. You can also print or copy articles and information and keep them organized in simple and inexpensive filing systems that you can keep on a shelf, in a drawer, in a milk crate, or even a cardboard box. This is also a good place to keep copies of any test results, and your WRAP, including copies of your Crisis Plan.
By educating yourself, you can model your WRAP so that it best meets your needs and addresses your goals. You can also use what you have learned to adapt your WRAP as your needs and goals change.
Learn more about education and creating your WRAP with WRAP Plus.
Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, developed Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) with a group of people with lived experience who were attending a mental health recovery workshop in 1997. She is the original author of the WRAP Red Book, as well as dozens of other WRAP books and materials. She has dedicated the last 30 years of her life to learning from people who have mental health issues; discovering the simple, safe, non-invasive ways they get well, stay well, and move forward in their lives; and then sharing what she has learned with others through keynote addresses, trainings, and the development of books, curriculums, and other resources. Now that she is retired, and that, as she intended, others are continuing to share what she has learned, she continues to learn from those who have mental health issues and those who support them. She is a frequent contributor to this site.