Posted in wellbeing, wellness

Monday Matters: Creating a W.R.A.P. Part 4

The cover I made for my file using MS Word

In this series, I’m breaking down the aspects involved in creating a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (W.R.A.P.) and sharing my experiences of the course I did at my local recovery college where I worked on my own individual plan. In Part 1, I talked about what a W.R.A.P. is and why they are helpful. I identified the main principles and introduced the idea of making a wellness toolbox to help you think about activities which you find help your mental health. In Part 2, the focus was on identifying what you are like when you are well and making a list of every day activities which you should do to keep yourself feeling well. For Part 3, we looked at the importance of recognising your triggers or stressors and creating a plan of methods for coping with these when they occur. We also considered our own personal warning signs that we are beginning to become unwell and I shared examples of my signs and actions for combatting these. Today, the focus is on signs of further decline when your coping methods and action plans are not helping you and simple steps you can take to remediate.

Sometimes, I find that even though I’m trying really hard to keep myself well, certain sets of circumstances or aspects of life cause my mental health to deteriorate. When I start to become depressed, it seems like nothing I can do will help and thoughts such as ‘I’m never going to get better’ kick in. Even though I’ve got through periods of depression and anxiety countless times before, I always panic that this is going to be the one time when I stay unwell indefinitely.

When I made my list of signs of decline, I was actually living that depressive and anxious side of my life so it was easy to write everything down but also quite upsetting. I also struggled to come up with coping methods and an action plan and this is where the support of the course facilitator at the college became so important. If you are struggling it’s really important to reach out for help. A family member, a close friend or a therapist can all help to provide objectivity and encouragement in finding a way forward.

Now I’m feeling stable, I have added to my list. In fact, I’ve turned it into two lists – one for times of depression and anxiety and the other for when I’m struggling with hypomania. Here are some examples that may help you get started with creating your own list or lists:

Depressive episodes

crying a lot

lack of motivation

avoid doing things

anxiety on waking

isolating myself

feeling hopeless

can’t see a way forward

rocking and pacing

fragile

lots of negative self talk

let things upset me that I wouldn’t ordinarily

feeling tired all of the time

sleeping in

very poor appetite – feeling sick

hopelessness

convinced I will never get better

Hypomania

erratic driving

spending money on unnecessary things

talking non-stop

not sleeping properly

taking on too much

jumping from one activity to another

thinking I’m superior / better than most

My coping methods / action plan

Go back to my wellness toolbox and choose self soothing and mindful activities

Do things ion my ‘Daily Maintenance’ list even though I don’t feel like doing them

Get some exercise – a gentle walk in nature

Do a meditative activity e.g. colouring in

Write a short action plan for each day

Try to celebrate small achievements

Write a done list of all of the things I have achieved each day e.g. had a shower, ate some lunch etc

I hope my posts are helping in terms of managing your mental health conditions and has shown how a Wellness Recovery Action plan can help with anxiety, depression and symptoms of bipolar illness. The fifth part will be about crisis planning which is particularly relevant for those of you who may struggle with manic episodes and severe periods of depression where someone else needs to take over your care. As my mood disorder is not as debilitating as this and I have learnt to manage hypomania and moderate depression, I did not fill in this part of the plan but I will still be sharing ideas for its completion.

Until next time,

Author:

A creative planning and journalling addict who lives in the North East of England, My current passions are my bullet journal, my Traveler's Notebook for memory keeping, my DSLR for taking nature photos, my new watercolour paints and my papercrafting supplies. I also own and run LJDesignsNE on Etsy where I sell pretty and functional goodies to fellow planner and journaling addicts.

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