A few years ago, Otis Redfern experienced some devastating events in his life in a short period of time. In just under a year, he lost his home, his job, his marriage, and his will to live. After a serious, and almost successful, suicide attempt, his family rallied around him to help him begin again.
One day Otis wandered into a laughing club and met a WRAP facilitator. Soon he had developed his own WRAP and started attending a local support group. He was beginning to be exposed to many types of coping skills and a new circle of friends. Exploring his creativity also became a priority for him, using THE ARTISTS’ WAY by Julia Cameron as a guide, Otis found that creativity and fun were very useful tools for rebuilding his life.
In Otis’ words, “WRAP has been a lifesaver. It’s allowed me to be proactive in my wellness and gain a better understanding in how to stay well. I am now managing my own recovery, which is very empowering. WRAP is adaptable to all aspects of my life. My WRAP toolbox is full of things that I can use to stay balanced, positive and healthy.
My WRAP has changed over the years. I’ve added items to the toolbox and removed a few. Some triggers have been dealt with and are no longer triggers to me. I use WRAP every day. It has changed my life. It has enabled me to build a circle of friends and supporters.
Presently, I am working in my chosen field and enjoying every minute. I’ve found a new church that is loving, accepting, supportive, and encourages me to grow spiritually. I’ve met the love of my life and we’ve just celebrated our first anniversary of marriage. I’ve also had two recent back surgeries and am going through physical therapy. Both my wife and I were unemployed for several months. Through it all, WRAP has enabled me to not only cope with life’s changes, but to thrive in the midst of them.”
Otis continues to be an inspiration and role model to me and to many people as they experience life’s challenges. There are many WRAP champions out there. I salute Otis, a true WRAP champion, and invite you to send in your stories of other WRAP champions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.