My first newsletter article, The First Step in a Life-Long Journey to Wellness, ended with a call for your advice about staying motivated to keep up with your Daily Maintenance Plan. You sent in some great ideas, and a couple of comments on Facebook and via email prompted me to expand my WRAP.
Dawn reminded me of the importance of expressing our feelings to people we know will listen to and support us during difficult times. I, and perhaps some of you, tend to bottle up my emotions and hibernate in solitude during challenging times. I’ll admit, this is not a super helpful way to garner support, but it takes real effort for me to reach out to others and admit “all is not well, and I could use some help.”
Dawn wrote: I am doing great. My WRAP has been a big part of my life. I have written a book about my journey back to recovery. I learned that I hide my deep emotions instead of dealing with them. Now, when my triggers are set off, I have safeties in place. I also learned how important communication is. “If I don’t tell you, then how are you supposed to know?” Learning new things about myself all the time. I love life now.
Dawn taps into three of WRAP’s key recovery concepts: personal responsibility, self-advocacy, and support. Her message was a reminder to me that if I keep my emotional needs hidden, I am not allowing others to support me and I am not taking responsibility for getting my needs met. As close as we may be with our friends and family, they aren’t mind-readers. If we don’t express how we feel and ask for support or a listening ear, people will likely assume we are doing fine.
For me, self-advocacy means setting aside internal fears about being judged for not “having it all together.” It also means that talking to my cat about my feelings is not enough; although he’s a decent listener, his support is limited to a loud purr and a few furry head-butts. Dawn’s comment prompted me to add a “check-in” with a trusted friend to my daily maintenance plan in my WRAP Workbook. That contact is usually just a short text about something positive we each did that day, but that extra support provides me with a little extra motivation to stay on track with my self-care.
Debra emailed a comment that prompted me to think about my daily plan as a stepping stone to a bigger picture and to use my end goals as a motivator.
Debra said: It’s been my ultimate goal to not be taking up a bed in a mental health facility ever again. For some time, in fact several years, I spent time in and out of facilities locally and in a state facility. When I finally was facilitated the opportunity to do a WRAP, it brought so much to light and so much to work on that I have spent the last several years sharing the idea of a WRAP with friends and neighbors who have been in a mental health predicament—some in day hospitals who have not been afforded the opportunity to do a WRAP. My WRAP has brought me this far, some 10 years of facility-free living. I enjoy sharing with others, and I believe it should be in place in every aspect, whether mental health, addiction, or trying to keep a positive frame of mind when things become difficult. Blessings to you for having this available.
I love that Debra set an umbrella goal for her plan and that she actively shares the WRAP concepts with others who can benefit from them. The fact that she has achieved 10 years of success toward her ultimate goal shows the power and beauty of WRAP. By gifting others with these life-changing principles, we can both help others find their path to wellness and create a natural support network for ourselves—a true win-win. Debra’s story has given me the impetus to share WRAP with some of my friends and to create a WRAP for more than just one aspect of my life.
This leads me to my next question. Do you have tips for approaching people about WRAP and sharing how it has helped you? Has sharing WRAP with others helped you build a stronger network of support? And if you haven’t shared WRAP with others, in what other ways have you created a support network for yourself? Let us know on Facebook, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will share some of your stories and ideas in future articles.