Plan for Prevention & Recovery
So, while I was at the hospital, they had me fill out a packet that was titled “Planning for prevention and recovery”.
It’s a nifty tool that can be used with any mental illness.
It came with a booklet that gave specific instructions for how to fill it out. They say to put it in a binder, with 5 tabbed sections.
First, it has your daily maintenance plan. It comes with a toolbox, a list of items that are healthy. Daily maintenance plans include:
- Feeling well: what you are like when you are well. How you behave and act, if you’re happy, etc.
- Dreams and Goals: simply write what your dreams and goals are. Even if they are big dreams, small goals, they are yours to realize.
- Daily list: a list of things to do every day. Like, taking meds, going for a walk, drink plenty of water, check in with people, etc. Whatever you do each day, that’s what goes on that list. It’s helpful to have it in writing.
- Reminder list: Do I need to: Call in a refill, schedule an appointment, buy groceries.
The next section is for Triggers. It includes sections:
- Identify triggers: what are your triggers
- Action plan: What can you do when faced by a trigger, how can you comfort yourself so that the trigger doesn’t become more serious?
The next section is for Early Warning Signs, things that are the next step from triggers. When things start to get a little hairy, and it’s more intense than just a trigger, like a trigger started this warning sign that things could get worse. They are internal and may or may not arise in reaction to stressful situations.
- Identify warning signs: like mine are – anxiety, nervousness, restlessness, isolation (just a few).
- Action plan: what do you need to do when you are recognizing the early warning signs? For example, Do everything on my maintenance plan, even if I don’t want to. Or, Tell someone. Take a nap. Read. Etc.
The next section, and final section…The toughest one. Crisis Planning. The one that was the hardest for me to write. It feels like you’re giving up control, but, honestly, by having this plan, you’re not giving up the control. You still hold it all. A crisis plan allows others to help you when you cannot help yourself. It’s a plan that has to be very concise and have real directions. This plan is going to be for others to follow.
- So the first section in the crisis plan is to identify what you are like when you are feeling well. You can copy this from the daily maintenance plan.
Next, Symptoms. This has to be direct. What are your symptoms, how long is too long. For example:
- Depressed state for more than 3 days (because this is not normal for me.)
- — talking excessively about harming myself
- — trying to find ways to harm myself
- — extremely quiet (because I’m thinking)
- Displaying violent or abusive behaviors toward myself or others
- Refusing medications
You get the point. Behaviors that are out of the ordinary for you that signal you are in a crisis.
- Next is a list of supporters, in the book they said that it was the people who you appoint that are in charge of your care when you cannot be, example: parents or health care professionals.
- Next, you list your providers and medications. Providers, list ways to get in contact, and obviously their names. As far as your medications, you want to list the name (I also listed the generic name), the dosage, how often you take it, and what it’s used for. You also want to list any vitamins that you are taking, any alternative therapies… In this section, you want to include what medications you’re allergic to, or medications that do not work well with you. For example, I listed Ambien as something that I cannot take because it makes me hallucinate. You may want to include medications that you know of that might work well with you, I listed prozac, because it worked before, but it wasn’t strong enough or needed some extra help.
- In your crisis plan, you want to include your treatments, the ones that you are currently going through. Like I’m using medications and therapy. You want to list what the therapy is for. You could also list therapies that would be acceptable.
- Planning for your care is the next subsection. This is where you would want to list what your ideal place would be. Personally, I would rather stay at home where I’m comfortable. But, I’m not against going inpatient.
- Treatment facilities, a section that you can write about your about what your ideal facility would be like, or ones that you know of that you could go to.
- Next is what you need from others. This is a direct list, with precise instructions of what you need or don’t need from others. For example, you might want to put that you need others to listen to you, not judge or criticize. You might also want to list things that you need people to take over while you are trying to recover from your crisis, like calling into work for you, paying the bills, taking care of the kids. You can also tell people what you don’t need, like not forcing you to do things, unless it includes you going to the doctor or medications.
- Lastly, you’re going to write ways for people to recognize that you are in recovery, that you are doing better. Like, maybe eating two full meals, taking care of personal hygiene, and the like. That way, your supporters know that they can withdraw the extra care.
Really, this is a journey into some self discovery. Working on it and updating it, helps you realize who you are when you are well, what you need when you are hurting. It’s an interesting journey, and you might find some sections to be hard to fill in. I found the crisis planning to be really hard, because it feels like I will be giving up control. But, as I now recognize it, I’m still in control, because I’m giving the instructions. It’s a nice way to learn how to take care of yourself. I hope this helps!