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The Wrap Plan: When Things are Breaking Down

Last time out, we discussed the ‘Early Warning Signs’ section of the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (or WRAP) plan. As a reminder ‘Early Warning Signs’, in this context, refer to changes in your feelings or behavior that indicate there might be emotional or psychological trouble on the horizon. As part of the WRAP program, we learned to recognize these warning signs and to develop an action plan for countering the feelings and behaviors. As we move deeper into the WRAP plan, you will see that things are not always going to be able to be ‘countered.’ Sometimes things get beyond our control. The next section of the plan is titled, ‘When Things are Breaking Down.’

Plan of attack

So how do you know when things are breaking down? How does one gauge that they are ALMOST in big trouble, whether it be psychologically or physically? Remember, the WRAP plan was designed to provide a structure for managing most any kind of illness and the struggles that are associated with it. The idea that there may come a time when ‘Things Start Breaking Down,’ is perhaps something we should plan for. What this stage of discontent looks like depends on many, many factors depending on the illness and the individual. What may be a pre-crisis situation for you, may be an early warning sign for me. The management of the issue remains the same, however. What types of feelings or behaviors do you exhibit when you start to worry a bit more than usual about your overall wellness? Examples of these feelings can include (but are not limited to): increased pain, irrational responses to situations, headaches, sleeping too much or too little, obsessive or overtly negative thoughts, substance abuse and many, many more. Please see the ‘When Things Are Breaking Down’ section of the WRAP handbook (available online) for more examples.

I think more than anything else, the WRAP plan attempts to help you organize your thoughts and create a rationale plan of attack, should your IBS start getting the better of you. If you have a plan, written down, whether it be in a notebook, tablet, your phone, the PC, whatever…you are more likely to have a clear idea about what actions you should take under a particular set of circumstances. Without a plan, it is possible we can get to a point where we are simply not capable of making the best decisions regarding our immediate care. Think about what would make the most sense if things start getting to the ‘Breaking Down’ spot for you. Talk about these ideas with people who love and support you. Then…get them down, hard copy, so you can access them when and if you need them.

To put things into perspective, we began our plan by creating a wellness toolbox, one of the most basic and effective tools for dealing with illness and it’s many difficulties. This was followed by a daily maintenance plan to help us stay organized. Although we are not to assume that things will go spinning out of control the moment something triggers us, we do need to prepare for the worst when dealing with a serious, very overwhelming illness like IBS.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.