By Debra Jackson
Mental health can become a full- time job if you allow it to take a toll on you. Have you ever found yourself combating inner negative thoughts and speaking them aloud? Well, you can fix that by “catching it, checking it and changing it.”
When I was in training to be a peer support specialist, this was one of the things that really caught my attention. I would give myself compliments, then turn them into a negative judgement.
For instance, I would be getting dressed and doing my morning affirmations. As soon as I was done, I would say how this outfit makes me look fat, or my hair is a complete mess, which would be the start of a downward spiral. After that, nothing would go right, but I could have caught it, checked it and changed it. Here’s how.
- Catch it: I recognized that I was not happy with the things that I had mentioned.
- Check it: What can I do to address the problems that I am having with myself?
- Change it: What will I do to change or fix that problem that I am having with myself?
We as women often are too hard on ourselves and can be our own worst critics. If we learn to catch it, check it and change it, things won’t be as hard as we tend to make them.
WRAP, or wellness recovery action plan, is a tool I have used myself to help deal with mental breaks or crisis. WRAP is all about ways to keep yourself well. It allows me to be in control of how I want things to go when things happen that are out of my control. I wish that before I had my mental break that I had known what a WRAP was. If I had known back then, I think things would have been much different.
For example, learning wellness tools, such as knowing how I am when I am well verses how I am when I am not well, has allowed me to come up with a recovery plan that works best for me. Who knows me better than me, right?
Today, as a result, I am a peer wellness recovery coach. I honestly can say that “catch it, check it and change it,” along with WRAP, has changed my life. Always remember that help starts with self. There is no health without mental health.
Debra Jackson is a certi- fied peer support specialist professional and wellness recovery action planning facilitator with the Mental Health Association of South Mississippi.