Creating a WRAP opens a whole world of possibilities for you. Your plan allows you to become more than a diagnosis or label, while you truly discover yourself and enjoy all that life has to offer.
by Waynette Brock
Having a WRAP for dealing with the effects of Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome has allowed me to consistently participate in life! I have incorporated the 5 Key Recovery Concepts into each and every part of my day through my Wellness Tools that I use to feel better such as yoga, stretching, hot showers, massage therapy, etc.
Without HOPE there is not a reason for me to reach into my Wellness Toolbox. Every morning I have hope and find a purpose to get up – I choose to show up for the day in honor of those that are unable to. I take Personal Responsibility to actually use my action plans. I educate myself on what works well and what is less effective for me. I practice Self Advocacy by clearly and concisely communicating what my needs are to my doctors so that they can be met – actually I demand it as I do not want medications that have harmful side effects – then I have to gather up Support to get through the day while dealing with what use to be unbearable chronic pain. There are no words to describe how grateful I am to have a plan that allows me to recover from the effects of this horrible disease – I live with dis-ease not a disease.
My WRAP consists of things that I need to do every day in order to be present and to function in the world.
Following are the three things that I commit to doing every day to stay well:
- I must talk to three people before 8am to give and receive support
- I must validate myself by acknowledging 10 things I did well at work and 10 things I did well in my personal life
- I must be in bed by 10 pm and watch an hour of mindless or educational television to decompress from the day’s events
The beauty of WRAP is that I have choices and options – there are no final answers. I get to figure things out for myself and my plan evolves with me.
That being said, I have found that there are some things I thought were optional for me to do that have now become mandatory. In order for me to be well and to stay well for long periods of time, I must add eating clean (no flour & no sugar) to my Daily Maintenance Plan, as when I do this my pain levels are decreased by 50%, my attitude is positive and my energy level increases.
My biggest trigger/frustration is when I go to the doctors with new, unfamiliar pains and I am dismissed or my symptoms are minimized – I feel as if my voice is not being heard. There came a point last year that I had to inform my doctor that I did not want to hear the word Fibromyalgia come out of his mouth. I had to be stern and persistent and advocate for myself to get the proper tests, then, low and behold I actually had something seriously going on with me. I had them remove the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia from my medical record as a result of this experience; however, the Myofascial Pain Syndrome is still listed on my chart.
When I refused to take any type of medications that would make me loopy, I was informed that there was a note in my chart that read “patient refuses/resistant to treatment” – WOW! Again, I have educated myself about myself because I am the expert on myself. I know that alternative therapies such as stretching, water aerobics, and kinesio tape works best for me . You see the most valuable thing that I have learned throughout the WRAP process of self-discovery is that I have the choice and the ability to respond instead of reacting to these types of situations. Every day is different for me and I love that I have the opportunity to discover new ways of managing chronic pain. If my bones are hurting I have figured out that I can walk down the stairs sideways and use ice or voltren cream. If my back has a spasm I can stretch or drink some pickle juice.
I facilitate a WRAP Group for those infected and affected by HIV & Hep C – people show up right after chemo therapy, directly after surgeries, on crutches, with walkers and still have a positive attitude towards life and maintain quality of life by using WRAP – that is beyond belief; they inspire me to just keep moving (my body) despite how I am feeling. I am a firm believer that my mind is a powerful thing and can affect my physical state, therefore we have created an environment that supports Mental Wellness, which contributes to my physical wellness and allows me to continue to participate in every aspect of my life. This thing is not going to beat me – I am not a victim, I am a survivor!
People often ask me how I get up at 4am, travel to work using public transportation, work an 8-10 hour day, maintain my personal recovery, be a wife, a mother, a mentor, a sponsor and find time to run a non-profit organization while having chronic pain. I tell them “Sundays and Tuesday evenings are my do nothing times – I have found my rhythm and balance in my life by having and using my WRAP”.
Waynette Brock is the Chief Executive Officer & Founder at One New Heartbeat, Inc. She is also an Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator.
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.