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Hi, my name is Erin Casey and July 8th is my birthday. I decided that for my birthday I’d write a reflection piece for the blog. I honestly didn’t know what to title it. You can let me know if you think it’s appropriate after reading it.

When looking back on my life today (all 23 years of it) I remember playing hide-and-go-seek with my neighbors, I remember dance classes and recitals, I remember making spy movies, reading harry potter, and being a spice girl in the talent show in 3rd grade. I remember swimming in Loch Haven Lake every summer and playing with my groovy girl dolls with my little sister Anna. I remember meeting one of my best friends on the bus in 4th grade to explore park (we’re still friends today).

Those were the times of my life.

Unfortunately though I have another set of memories just as imbedded in my brain. I remember each an every person that has made comments about my body, and how that made me feel. I remember spending days getting on and off a scale willing with every fiber in my being for that number to go down. I remember avoiding friends, family gatherings, school even sometimes because getting dressed was too hard. There is not much about my undergraduate college experience that I do remember that isn’t associated with my mental illness spiral or recovery.

Those too were the times of my life.

Huh? Yeah, you read that correctly. We don’t get to pick and choose in this life what happens to us. We don’t get to enter this world saying “I’m only coming if I get to have happy days all the time.” Life comes with the good and the bad, and there is NOTHIG we can do about it. I have celebrated accomplishments on the same days I have engaged in life-threatening destructive behaviors because I didn’t know how to cope or I didn’t understand some part of me or something that was happening in or around me.

There is no Black nor White

Growing up people constantly told me how energetic, vivacious, inquisitive, intelligent, lovely…. I was. It’s true. I don’t deny any of those things. But I was also depressed. I was anxious. I was scared. I was hurt. I was “not good enough”. But most dangerously I was silent about it. What people saw wasn’t false but it wasn’t the entire reality either.

You are your Reality

Finding my reality of both the good and the bad, the easy and the hard, the happy and the sad was really challenging. My reality is my grey. My reality is that I am 23 years old. I am a graduate from James Madison University. I am in recovery from an eating disorder and bipolar disorder. I have good days and I have bad days. I have good feelings and bad feelings. I am aware. I am passionate. I am launching a nonprofit. I feel happy, sad, angry, excited, scared, empowered, fearful, lonely, fulfilled, empty, lost, found, and everything else you can feel because I am human. I have been hurt and I have hurt others. I am not perfect and I never will be.

From the darkness and hiding of internal depression and disorder to the pretending and particular placement of showing people only what I thought they wanted to see all the way to true and honest reality. I tell you this: All of your moments are your life, there is no black or white and you cannot escape your reality.

My name is Erin Casey and This is Where I Stand.

Photo on 7-5-13 at 11_Fotor3