Founder and President
“You are not alone.”
1) What inspired Where I Stand?
The creation and development of Where I Stand happened as I entered recovery from my own eating disorder and understood what was underneath it. Through this process I learned about, the causes, the triggers, and developed tools to deal effectively with the challenges that living with a mental illness creates. Through this my passions to reach out to others, erase the stigma and share my experience of recovery and the process of self-discovery began. Where I Stand was one of the very first fruit of that passion.
Where I Stand is unique in that is focuses on prevention of mental illness, such as eating disorders through awareness, education and research. This is fundamental to our organization because preventative mental health planning can avoid the potentially fatal consequenses and monumental costs associated with the development of severe mental illness.
2) What motivates you to keep going when things get hard?
There are many things that motivate me to not only continue pursuing my recovery goals, but also to continue pursing my passion for advocacy. They are: my friends and family, the incredible people I’ve been in treatment with, the amazing treatment providers that have worked diligently with me, and the knowledge that I can pursue my dreams and pursue health. Also, knowing the truth I don’t have to be perfect has been vital in me taking my next steps in the world. First and foremost however, my faith inspires me, reminds me and motivates me to pursue the light in the world. Nothing has kept me believing in recovery, awareness, education and outreach more than my faith in God.
3) Do you believe in full recovery?
I believe in recovery more than anything else (except Jesus). Recovery is a lifestyle. I have two difficult to treat mental illnesses (an eating disorder and bipolar disorder); and I must practice recovery every single day so that I can pursue the things most important to me. Through recovery I make the choices to get support, use my skills and practice taking care of myself. Learning to do these things taught me that there is life after an eating disorder, and that a mental illness is far from a death sentence if treated appropriately. No one’s life looks the same, and I have found in my experience that developing and adapting a personal mental health plan that works for you aids in finding and maintaing a recovery lifestyle.
4) What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about spreading hope. I believe light is stronger than darkness. I believe that people should encourage others. I believe that we should use our lives to lift others up so they can do the same for other people. I’m passionate about erasing the stigma associated with mental illness – because my name is Erin Casey, not my illness.
5) What do you want to do in the future?
I want to advocate for people with mental illnesses, in policy, education and spread awareness. I want to help people get access to treatment that is effective, and cost-efficient. I want to use my experience, my education and my passion to help the mental and behavioral health community around the United States.
Erin would be honored to come speak at your school, event, or to a group near you about mental health awareness, self-acceptance, the importance of community and hope in the face of trial and suffering! Email email@example.com
Erin’s story: For most of my life I’ve been plagued with thoughts and ideas of worthlessness often tied to my body. As a dancer I was never quite good enough. But too, because I frequented the stage starting at a young age I learned how to detach myself from my emotions, feelings and fears and put on a performance. This proved detrimental to my relationships with friends and family and my growth as an individual. For most of high school I hid my disrupted sense of self, negative emotions and food behaviors behind my excellent grade point average, and my work ethic in the dance studio. Most people that knew me well knew I had a problem – but it didn’t really come to a head until I was on my own at James Madison University. During my undergraduate work at James Madison University I also worked hard on recovery and in and out of various mental health treatment settings. It is true the treatment process can be difficult and long, but there is is much hope in it. Through treatment I was able to discover things about myself that I never would have otherwise. I was diagnosed and put on an effective treatment regime for bipolar disorder, as well as learned to effectively manage my eating disorder. Today I am officially a graduate from James Madison University with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science, and I have never believed in the recovery and treatment process more. I know that I will always need some professional support to help me deal with my mental illnesses, but I also know that when I commit myself to my
treatment plan and work hard to keep myself healthy by asking for support, using the tools I’ve learned in treatment, taking my medication, and following my mental health plan guidelines then I can live a full and productive life. That is why today and for everyday as long as I live I will stand for recovery – because it gave me my life back. Today I am passionate about spreading awareness, education and hope about mental health through marketing, outreach, program development, policy and organization development.
I also love to write, do art projects, read, attend weekly bible study, and invest in the lives of others. My favorite place is Loch Haven Lake in Roanoke Virginia and I love the color purple!
Today, while launching Where I Stand Erin is an Activities Counselor at a Residential Treatment Facility operated by Intercept Youth Services. She holds women and girls in the recovery process accountable in mentorship through MentorConnect – Where relationships replace eating disorders. Her short-term future plans are to pursue a Masters of Arts in Advocacy and Communication.