I was going to have this published as “private” and then realized I’ve never shared my notes and process of how I develop my WRAP in real time. Mostly, I just talk about it at group or when I’m giving a presentation. Sharing this one feels more accountable.

Wellness Recovery Action Plan. It’s a lifesaver for me. Literally.


Today is December 6, 2020. It’s been three days since anyone has called me. I received one text yesterday, from my Dad asking about the furnace.

It’s difficult not reflecting on worthiness right now. I mean, I could literally have been dead for three days without being missed thus far. Not a good headspace.

The grand sum of human interaction has been through Facebook and Instagram, and all in service of creating a useful face for STS and my partners on social media. As for unsolicited “Hey, how are you today?” interactions, it’s a goose egg on the board.

I did message Victor, and it was good he’s interested in when the Monday group was happening again.

I reached out to ask him about an article I wrote. It’s a passion piece I kept for my own Thoughtcrimes blog, and I’m feeling uncharacteristically uncertain of my passion and “valid” ha ha emotions. I don’t like the word “cisgender” applied to me and I explain why, being ever sensitive to owning my emotions and not lashing out. Victor didn’t really give me the feedback I was hoping for. He suggested bouncing it off one of our mutual friends.

The resultant emotion is very like when I was married and the trapped feeling of having to defend why I feel the way I feel, then being told I’m wrong for feeling the way I feel. This is seven years of therapy saying “I give myself permission to feel my emotions.” Right now, in this moment, I don’t believe it. Confidence is replaced by guilt and shame.

You know, Thanksgiving rolled by without anyone calling to wish me a good holiday. I cooked a simple meal of turkey, peas, and stuffing. It’s the first Thanksgiving I spent alone.

I missed my Dad. He spent the day alone, too. Weather between FV and Albuquerque was intense and both of us have battled through winter storms across 40 to give it a pass this year. Still, I feel badly I didn’t make more of an effort to see him.

I called Amanda two days ago and left a message. While she was calling every day, I agreed to let her reach out to me so she can focus on her treatment without my intrusion. It’s a good thing and I fully support her. I do miss her and really wanted to hear from her.

I went to group last night and was fighting back tears all night. I don’t have any explanation other than the holidays are rough without family and the low-sunlight hours of winter physiologically impair my mental health. There is no specific stressor, just generalized loneliness and a brain betraying me in the way does.

Suicide thoughts? Maybe…
…. nothing specific. Perhaps “generalized despondence” akin to how I felt in past years leading into harmful thoughts. I’ve got my rat analogy I also shared at group last night to fall back on. It’s a good emotional anchor.

It’s coming to a head and I’ve recognized it for the past month. I lack the capacity to hear out anyone who expects me to listen them telling me how I’m fucking up and take it. This type of entitlement really is upsetting and I sense my heart pulling back. a meme Amanda sent me encapsulates perfectly how it feels for me:

Just because I carry the load so well doesn’t mean it’s not just as heavy.

I have to be able to say “no” and have people understand my fortitude has limits. This is exhausting!

It’s not feeling sorry for myself. Don’t be lazy. Remember, Steve, This is simply getting down how I feel right now, the circumstances of the environment, and what transpired to this point. WRAP and I have a date in the near future. One week. No more.

And there, without failing, a future. I know my brain is lying to me like it’s done so many times before.

What do I want to remember most from the experience?

1.) Uncharacteristic feelings of lack of worth without singular cause.

2.) Second guessing myself based on people I don’t know questioning my integrity. C’mom, dude.

3.) Inability to shake a permeating feeling of “having to defend my honor.” Definitely an artifact of being married.

4.) Allowing others to shake my belief in what is important to me and allowing my shaken believe to consider silencing myself.

5.) Loneliness. Why?

Why are these points important?

Because, after two years of recovering from Paula and MHRAC, I made the excrutiating choice to come out of hiding and continue following my passions, confidently and unapologetically.

Amanda pointed out – correctly – I have the qualities of “someone you hate or love without much in between.” I have to be comfortable with this or I cease being true to myself. Amanda encourages me to speak about unconfortable truths.

Amanda also reminded me of my Mom’s words of advice and caution. Mom said, “Steve, you have a good heart and there are people who will take advantage of that. Always follow your heart.” Before she passed away, I promised Mom I would. And Mom passed later that day. I can never forget no matter how defeated.

So if remembering this about Mom now, and knowing Ananda hears me, understands me, believes in me (she told you two weeks ago over and over til I believed her!), and loves me for me, these are the validating supports I can call upon when I feel this despondence, uncertainty, and loss of direction.

The issue:

CPTSD symptoms and bipolar exhaustion.

The warning signs:

Second guessing myself, being thrown off by thinking others’ passions are more important than my own, believing I’m required to accept abusive behavior, unfounded guilt and shame. Haven’t gotten out of the house for three days even though I feel heavy loneliness. Avoiding calling contractor back on furnace… it’s fucking cold! C’mon, dude!

Possible skill set:

Develop worth-based awareness.

Ownership. Always.

Drawing strength from Mom and Amanda’s words. Rat story.

Being okay with grace.

Okay! In one week it’s time to update my WRAP! December 12, 2019.