We all experience sudden, unexpected events in our lives that we have not planned for and that require extra effort for keeping ourselves well. Re-evaluating your Wellness Tools during these difficult times can help to keep you out of crisis. Read more about how the elements of WRAP have helped Waynette to stay well.
There may be times when you have special needs due to a sudden change in your circumstances. You may be doing very well and, suddenly, you get thrown a curve ball. Sometimes you have advance warning and sometimes you don’t. To keep things from getting out of control during these times-which would cause you and others even more difficulty and pain-you need information, help and support from others.
I’ve recently been having my own Personal Experience and in order for me to take the power out of it I need to elaborate on how the 5 Key Recovery Concepts, The Wellness Toolbox and WRAP have played a huge role in my life this week. I had been suffering with a painful lump at the base of my skull. I went to the doctor several times and was told that it was just my lymphoid doing its job. The pain increased and I took Personal Responsibility to Advocate (really I demanded) for a MRI of my brain – lo and behold there were a couple of cysts on a gland in my brain.
No worries, we can handle this because I have a great core group of supporters that know how to support me during these times. My Crisis Plan has to be modified for this scenario. So, the second call comes at my job informing me that they want to do a second MRI later on in the week to take a second look. THEN came the third phone call informing me that the surgeons would like to see me on Monday to address the mass that they found on my neck. My head went from being in Wellness to Crisis within 10 seconds. No one had previously informed me about a mass, and why would the surgeons want to talk to me before reviewing the results of a test?
Again, my supporters are my Wellness Tools that get me through these moments in life. Luckily I report up to one of the most phenomenal human beings that God ever created and put on this earth – yep, my boss was the first supporter that I trusted enough to become vulnerable with and in that moment I was back in Wellness. There was no judgement, he did not try to tell me what I “needed to do” or that everything was going to be alright. He simply listened to me and made it okay for me to do what I need to do to take care of myself.
My Wellness Recovery Action Plan has changed within 72 hours. The things that I used to think were optional have now become mandatory for me to do in order to remain in emotional, mental and spiritual Wellness. My Triggers have changed; even the phone ringing now makes me uncomfortable as I am in fear. My action plan, however, is to answer it anyway. Fear of the unknown is an Early Warning Sign for me, however, when I refer to the past I realize that everything has always worked out just fine. When Things are Breaking Down and I begin to get frustrated and short tempered due to this fear, I remember my favorite saying from Mary Ellen Copeland – “You don’t need nor will you benefit from dire predictions about the future.”
It would be really easy to misdirect my fears and anger through words or negative energy but WRAP works! I have not harmed myself or anyone else during this storm and continue to review my WRAP and update my Wellness Tools as I move forward.
By Waynette DeVonna Funderburk-Brock
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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.