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Liz Wilson

Creating MY Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP): How can I help you help me?

When I did my training to become a Peer Support Specialist, I also took 20 hours of Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) Training. The idea behind a WRAP is to create a deeper understanding of when and how to help you. The key is YOU. Your normalcy, your manias, your depressions…WRAP is a written snapshot of how you look and act in all three states and can be tailored to fit anyone. It is the single most helpful tool I have found to assist others---especially loved ones—understand when my mood shifts. I will explain the components of WRAP and I strongly encourage each of yo

My Journey with Trauma and Dual Diagnosis

Trauma: An incident and its physiological and psychological effects on victims and/or witnesses to the event. The DSM describes 5 types of PTSD, the label most commonly associated with trauma. I want to talk about comorbid PTSD; a diagnosis given when other diagnoses exist. In my case, Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse Disorder.

Stigma in Entertainment 2018: The United States of Bipolar

A cursory look at the research demonstrates that there is still misinformation in the entertainment industry in regards to mental illness, too few role models who are public about their mental illness/es, and that measurable strides have been made by advocates and TV/Film personalities to change the old, stigmatized portrayals of people with Bipolar Disorder, et. al. 

Seeds of Hope

I often wonder if everyone has experienced the miracle of a well-spoken or well-meaning word during times of crisis or need?  I grew up in a home fraught with poverty, but my Mother was constantly trying to make small things go a long way---both physically and emotionally.  I can remember the day I finally realized I was poor: I was 15.

Celebrating Mental Health Milestones

I recently planned my Drug Treatment Court Graduation. In July I will successfully graduate; the courtroom will be full of my guests and other participants. Each member of the seven panel treatment team — including the judge — will take time to give me accolades, followed by a recess in court so that everyone in attendance can congratulate me individually (it’s mandatory). After court, we will take pictures of me with my support team and my certificate of completion and my family and I will go out to eat.  

Helping A Loved One When They're Not Doing Well

I recently watched as a friend deteriorated as a result of a new medication. She was having an adverse reaction to it and within days was manic. Everyone else saw a happy-go-lucky her, while I saw the irritation building in her, as well as her frustration as she tried to deal with the growing symptoms. Within days the mania turned into depression and she became more irritable, angry and more frustrated. 

My Story Isn't Over: Project Semicolon

When I'm doing day-to-day things, it is very common for other people to ask me why I have a semicolon tattoo on my right wrist. A semicolon is defined as “a punctuation mark indicating a pause, typically between two main clauses, that is more pronounced than that indicated by a comma.”

When to disclose that you have bipolar disorder in a relationship?

As someone in recovery from both addiction and bipolar disorder, I often find it difficult to know when to share this part of my life with someone else. I recently ended a three-year relationship and began dating again. I try to be upfront about the addiction because I am still very involved in daily recovery from that disease. In addition, substance addiction is more stigmatized even than mental illness.

Incarceration and Hospitalization: Worlds Apart

“Mentally ill persons increasingly receive care provided by correctional agencies. In 1959, nearly 559,000 mentally ill patients were housed in state mental hospitals (Lamb, 1998). A shift to "deinstitutionalize" mentally ill persons had, by the late 1990s, dropped the number of persons housed in public psychiatric hospitals to approximately 70,000 (CorrectCare, 1999). As a result, mentally ill persons are more likely to live in local communities. Some come into contact with the criminal justice system.

DBT and Me

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was originally designed to treat individuals diagnosed as having Borderline Personality Disorder (which I was), but has skills and tools for everyone. DBT has been, notably, successful in individuals with Bipolar Disorder and PTSD as well. I have /have had all three diagnoses, so I started trying to find DBT therapy for myself about 2 years ago, when I first heard of it.  Initially it wasn’t covered by insurance and was rather expensive, so I stuck with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and got what I could get out of it. 

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