After attending a workshop where Mary Ellen spoke in 2005, I brought the little red book to my therapist and told her I thought it would fix me. That was where I was after four years of psychiatric hospitalizations, lots of medications and a chronic liver disease diagnosis. I thought I was broken and was looking for ways to be ‘fixed’.
WRAP seemed like a logical, well thought out super glue to me and I went about using it to put my pieces back together, with the help of my therapist, case manager and a WRAP group I attended on and off for three years. I used it for navigating Hepatitis C treatment, (a year long, extremely harsh, chemotherapy-like treatment that takes numerous physical and emotional tolls) where I was cured (fixed).
WRAP helped me get my boys home from foster care. I was dealing with a court system where I had to make sure I was there every six months or they could have taken my boys away from me and placed them for adoption. So it ‘fixed’ my family.
I used it to get out of the tailspin of being in the psychiatric system, living with numerous diagnoses and taking up to seven medications at a time. So WRAP ‘fixed’ my brain.
I also used WRAP for heart surgery and that is a story in and of itself. I will say that my heart is now ‘fixed’ and I’m good as ever.
I have been using the word ‘fixed’ in apostrophes intentionally for the beginning of this story because for a long time I thought I was broken and needed fixing.
It didn’t matter that I am a trauma survivor and my earliest memories stem from the age of two and continued well into my adulthood. Or that I was protector of my five siblings as they were born, me being the oldest and have memories of shhhing them while hiding in a closet because of drinking and domestic fighting. I grew up feeling unloved and thinking I was broken and needed ‘fixing’.
Needless to say, when at the age of 54 I realized that I had lifelong experiences of hearing voices and having visions, I got real quiet and said nothing, thinking if I did I would wind up back in the psychiatric system and on meds again. I was a wee bit mad because I thought I was fixed and now here was something else about me that was broken.
But what has helped me about having a WRAP is that it’s not about being fixed.
It’s about self-empowerment while dealing with adversity.
It’s about keeping place for me when I thought I was not worthy of living on this earth and attempted to leave it numerous times.
It’s held space for hope in a concrete, factual sort of way when I thought I was hopeless.
It’s helped me steer a course through a myriad of anger and rage at the ones who caused so much pain in my life.
It’s helped me raise two boys into adulthood as a single parent.
It’s helped me learn how to create a network of friends who support all of whom I am, as I am rather stubborn, a bit of a freebird, and still struggle with feeling unloved.
And finally, WRAP has given me a way to share my story with others, as a facilitator and Advanced Level Facilitator, so others can learn to share their experiences in a way that spreads our stories of hope and resiliency.