What I wish to share with you this afternoon is that I am a really normal person…who happens to be mentally ill. I suffer from Bipolar II disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder. But more than this, I share my story, using WRAP…WELLNESS RECOVERY ACTION PLAN by MARY ELLEN COPELAND to help others on their paths to recovery, by utilizing my experience and knowledge with the hope that they will experience a few less bumps in the road on their path of recovery.
When I applied WRAP to my life. I learned more about myself than I knew my whole life. I thought it was selfish to put myself first. I did not know that was the biggest fault that led to depression. I never bought my favorite food or drink even when I was alone. I thought my husband or child would want some later and it would not be the kind they liked. I did not know how to enjoy my own company. or even do arts and crafts I liked doing.
Well that all changed. I made my first Wellness Toolbox…1-50 and was off to the races. I went to the beach with all the cute surf boys when ever I felt triggered. my doctor got me a bus pass that was 30 dollars for the year. I stop going to him for more meds and went to the beach for more beach boys and sunshine. Oh I met people from all over the world.
I traveled down the road of knowledge and understanding of mental illness primarily on my own just as those who DO NOT suffer from the symptoms of mental illness often have difficulty understanding that THE DIAGNOSIS of mental illness is not a static; and certainly not a prescription nor a session with a psychiatric, a therapist or a PCP its not the end of the medical model recovery process; it is however the first step in WELLNESS on the road to Recovery. Therefore, I have become an amateur researcher in, EBP, manuals, news articles, and medical publications in the hope that the more I understand mental illness, the better I can live with it and not against it.
This desire for knowledge led me to the AMHD on Oahu in the summer of 2003. I saw a flyer for WRAP I was blown away this class was taught by a peer? I am proud of myself not only for completing the class, but more so for believing that every step I take towards the advancement of the treatment of mental illness is one less obstacle for the next generation to overcome.” In this process I was trained for Seeking Safety,(for Peers suffering with PTSD) Intentional Peer Support (teaching World View and Mutuality ) We have a lot of classes where we role play using EBPs
I was 36 when I was diagnosis…. Mental illness had put me on a lonely road to recovery; my hope is that I don’t leave others to travel it alone as I Did…
I am now a Hawaii Certified Peer Specialist teaching WRAP at ALOHA HOUSE to my Peers IN Maui. Hawaii, what a Dream Job. The WRAP is A WELLNESS RECOVERY ACTION PLAN provided by Mary Ellen Copeland and her colleagues. This job was created for me after my internship. I worked at the crisis center and taught in the co-occurrence disorder classes, The numbers for relapse decreased not because I was an intern but because we now had a complete team, here at Aloha House. Seeing a Peer as a teacher has the same impact on my Peers 8 years later. We do art projects and make cards every holiday to give to our loved ones. In LCRS I take crossword puzzles each week and we play games to win Aloha House souvenirs 60% of my Peers have applications on file with AMHD to become trained HCPS 90% of my peers are working in the community as volunteers, 7 % of my Peers, have jobs they enjoy because they worked their tool box and need the pay check.10-12% have re-united with their families some have returned home and others are rebuilding, 3% have completed GED and gone on to college and 2% I have no contact so I know not if they are still clean and sober unfortunately.
I have Peers who are Computer Techs, Computers Teachers Software Techs, Art Teaches, Care Givers, organic farm work, working in Boutiques and Food Service. This Peer-Based recovery (WRAP) teaches my Peer to reach out to a strong support team early on. The goal is for peers to leave the training class with a can-do comfort level of living in RECOVERY. Lastly, participants have develop a network of peers who give and receive ongoing support that promotes progressively higher levels of Recovery. The Peers now demand clean and sober homes not the programs.