Where I Stand

We Stand for hope, overcoming obstacles, self expression, saying who you are and living out your passion.


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Let’s be honest: Depression sucks.


tumblr_m2wpopuP9G1r3952to1_500If you’ve heard me talk you know what I Stand for, you know my story, you know that I advocate very strongly that mental illnesses are NOT death sentences and that there is life (lot’s of it) in learning to navigate and use mental health tools to your advantage. You know that I believe mental health is for EVERYONE. You’ve also heard me talk about how challenging living with a mental illness is.

Honestly, most of the time I tend the shy away from the nitty gritty details of depression and anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorder and other mood disorders, personality disorders, behavioral disorders and other mental illnesses that the world casts so much stigma and shame on because there is already so much darkness there and I hate to add to it.

But, there comes a point where sometimes the truth is dark. Sometimes the truth is ugly. Sometimes the truth is painful, and ignoring it is only going to make it worse.

I deal with depression pretty regularly on and off. I swallow my cocktail of prescription medications on a daily basis. I use the DBT skill MEDDSS to track how I’m doing. I constantly talk myself out of negative thought processes and into living my life. I have a therapist.

But today I’m just going to say it: Depression really sucks.

It sucks that it’s hard to get out of bed sometimes. It sucks that it’s hard that even with loved ones I feel alone. It sucks that this dark cloud that follows me on my bad days just looms there, even when really good things happen – and while I know I should be happy; I can’t. It sucks when I smile and wave at people, but really just feel like an empty shell. Everything is a chore. Everything is difficult. Everything hurts. The time moves in slow motion as I pray for nightfall. The world seems foggy and grey.

Thankfully for me, the depths and lengths of my depressions are not as bad or deep or long as they once were. But they are still there. I use to fight them, fight them like hell, as if I were waging a war against the universe. I would not sleep, or only sleep; I would yell and scream at people for reasons I didn’t even understand. I would take it out on my body in extreme ways.

Today I don’t fight it anymore. I know what it is, kind of like a headache or a migraine or a stomach ache. I acknowledge that it sucks. I allow myself to take it as easy as I need to. I ask myself what I need while I’m not feeling well.

In order to heal we must become aware; in order to become aware we must be honest.

Let’s be honest: Depression Sucks.

My name is Erin and This is Where I Stand.


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Meet Where I Stand’s newest blogger Dawn Sachleben!


IMG_7804Dawn Sachleben

Current City: Olalla, Washington

 Topics: Eating Disorders, Body Image, Addiction, Depression, Anxiety, and Recovery.

 I grew up on the beach of Southern California with two younger siblings. My parents loved us and did everything they could for us but there were problems on the horizon and it was felt in the home. At a young age I developed a love for dance, the only problem was I was much bigger than the other dancers and that was the beginning of my disease. My disease started with restrictions and later turned into bulimia. I had such a unhealthy relationship with food that my eating disorder just became a way of life. I was depressed and constantly anxious, I would pray that I would just go to sleep and never wake up. As a teenager my mother looked for help for me but at that point I was afraid to say what really was going on and I was a master of disguises. No one really ever knew how sick I truly was. This went on for years but along the way I would pick up other destructive behaviors I became a addict and alcoholic and in my thirties lost everything including the custody of my children. I had given up, I felt as if I couldn’t fight anymore. In January of 2011 my stepsister died due to complications with her eating disorder and addictions. This sent me further on a path of destruction and by the end I had isolated myself completely. Then one day I woke up and decided I had, had enough and decided I needed help but had know idea where to go or who to turn too. Luckily I somehow figured it out and today I am here to share my story of recovery and let others know that I have been there and there is hope.

 Why where I Stand?: Because together we are strong. Where I Stand has brought me so much comfort. Knowing that there are others like me out there has helped my recovery and now I want to help others who may be feeling lost and alone. Our stories are powerful and inspiring and we should be proud of who we are because we are enough. Society needs to be educated about mental health. The diseases that fall into this category need to be talked about and not ignored. There should not be guilt and shame associated with them. We should be able to talk about them freely without the negative stigma and I am passionate about spreading hope and being a voice for us.

 Interests/Hobbies: I love to paint and draw and be artsy. I love to dance my heart out when no one is looking. I love the smell and sounds of the ocean. I love Music. I love to write and learn. I am currently back in school working on my degree in Social Services Mental Health.

Are you interested in applying to be a Blogger for Where I Stand?
Click Here.


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Family, Food, & Fun? Coping with Mental Health During a Holiday Weekend


Happy Easter!

eastereggs1You might be celebrating your faith this weekend; or maybe for you it’s all about honey baked hams, Easter Egg Hunts, and Chocolate Bunnies (quite possibly it’s a combination of the two) – or for some of you it’s just a plain old weekend like any other. Regardless, holidays spiritual or commercial bring up a lot of “crap” and many challenges for those suffering from mental health concerns.

  • Family & Friends
    • Family and friends are great, but we all know that in excess they can cause additional stress, frustration, triggers, expectations and exhaustion. It’s important to acknowledge this because it allows us to plan accordingly. Put breaks into your day where you can separate yourself from the chaos and take 10-15 minutes at a time by yourself. Maybe you need to mentally prepare to see some people who you have had conflicts with in the past and put time limits on the time you spend with them or on the topics of conversations you engage in with them. The key here is remembering that even in and within the chaos of the day, the hour, the event – you remember that you’re worth taking care of, even if that means not pleasing everyone around you.
  • Food
    • Food is often another challenge around any holiday, party or event. I’ve talked with individuals who’ve agonized about what might be served or not served at a holiday party. Other people cope with the stress and anxiety of holidays by gorging themselves on holiday related food. These methods of coping are not only dangerous but they take away from the “fun” that the holiday is supposed to bring. Ideas for dealing with food during a holiday: plan your meals as much as you can based on food groups and set goals based on nutrition rather than exact items. Also, work on intuitive eating and pay attention to how your body feels with the food you are consuming. Ask yourself: Am I hungry? Am I full?
  • Schedules
    • I don’t know about anyone else but when my schedule gets thrown off so does the rest of my life. Humans in general are creatures of habit and we usually like things a certain way. Well, when traveling and going out to parties and planning and events and cleaning ect those things often change. This is often challenging for me so I have to remind myself that it’s okay to feel a little “off”. I also remind myself that it’s the holiday that is causing the change and that my life will return to normal shortly. It also helps me to do little things I can control throughout the day, like clean or organize something, go for a walk, or complete a small task to give myself a sense of accomplishment in the craze.
  • Memories
    • Memories both bad and good often surface around the holidays as we reflect with family and friends or think about something we’ve missed out on. This can definitely be distressing but it does not have to be defining. We have a lot more control over our emotions and how we react to them than we think. When old memories begin to surface that are causing distress grab a trusted friend to talk about it, write in your journal, get in an online support community, use a healthy coping skill and also allow yourself to feel; always reminding yourself that feelings are temporary.

I hope you all have a beautiful and blessed Easter Weekend! You all deserve it!

My name is Erin and This is Where I Stand.


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A Message from a Lifeline Recipient


WIS Hand A_Fotor copy

…..I address this to you as you signed my card you guys were so kind to send. I experienced an immediate lift in spirits as I digested the facts, this card was handwritten, it was from people from the other side of the world, who cared, taken time out and spoke from their heart and experience’s, and whom I very unlikely to meet in my life.You know I have been one of those people, everyone’s else’s rock, and as life has progressed I finally hit the wall, the load had finally become too much…But again thank you and the team, beautiful work.

I am humbled as Where I Stand continues to touch lives. Want to get involved? Email erin@thisiswhereistand.com

You can also order one of our HOPE apparel items (tank top, Tee, V-neck, Sweatshirt) to support our mission of prevention and intervention of mental illness through awareness, education and research. Click Here

My name is Erin and This is Where I Stand


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Here’s a tool for mental health planning.


Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 3.10.48 PMMental health planning and recovery planning can seem daunting. I’ve personally thought to myself “how am I ever going to understand myself and all of this stuff?” But let me tell you there is so much hope and a few key things that EVERYONE can do to help make sure that we stay healthy and aware of ourselves throughout our day.

I’ve titled this document “Knowledge is Power”.

It’s so true that we often ‘run’ from knowing ourselves, but in reality that hurts us so much more. Knowing just a few key things can make the difference between a crisis and well, not. Below is the link. I encourage everyone to print it out – keep it with you in your purse, wallet, or backpack and refer to it when your mind goes from being rational to emotional.

The beauty of this sheet is that we don’t have to make the decision or come up with the ideas when we’re struggling – it’s all right there!

Feedback is always welcome.

Be well,

Erin Casey
Where I Stand
Founder and President 

 Knowledge Is Power Resource Click Here 


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Reflections of a former people-pleaser


Quotation-Steve-Maraboli-opinions-life-success-motivational-journey-inspirational-opinion-happiness-Meetville-Quotes-144856Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

So here I am, bearing everything to you dear reader. I will pour out my guts and insides to you if at least you will take away from my posts just one life lesson. If all you take away is this, then I will consider my job over and done with.

Whatever you do…

Don’t live your life to please other people.

And if you are, then consider the fact that you find yourself in good company. I too have been here before, and I’m familiar with the repercussions of “people pleasing”. I know the anxieties and selfish longings too well. I often felt misunderstood as if no one really knew what my mind was up to.

Did they know what really made me tick?

Why was it that when everyone was getting engaged and picking out china patterns, that I at 21 years old wanted nothing more than to travel somewhere new?

Shouldn’t I want those same things? What would they say if they knew the truth?

I used to weigh very heavily on what others thought of me. What I wore. What I ate for lunch. What designer handbag I carried with me (hint: they were always knock-offs). Who I dated.

Take it from someone who’s been there. Living for the crowd’s applause on life’s stage only breeds anxiety, resentment and regret over missed opportunities.

It wasn’t until my third year of university that I realised I had a “people-pleasing” addiction. I was too concerned with what others were doing and what they thought about what I was doing. So I came to a solution. I finally did what I wanted to do.

I flew to England.

That spring I spent 6 wonderful months in the midst of self-discovery. I read new books, ate new foods, and learned all about philosophy and literature and politics. I was head-over-heels in love with my life. But that short semester didn’t satisfy my craving, my longing for more. All that it did was awaken my desire to travel again.

This dream of mine wasn’t well received by everyone I knew however. While my family was very supportive, many of my friends and peers were confused. It would ruin our plans, they said. It would disrupt your life plan, they said. You will be all alone, they said. You might be lonely.

Going away to Scotland was one of the most selfish decisions I ever made.

But it probably saved my life.

It brought me back to life in a way I didn’t even realise needed re-awakening. It revealed things about myself that I had buried deep down inside for quite some time. What would have happened to me had I not taken that step? Would I be the same person?

I dare not think it. I just thank God for his grace.

Some of you who have experienced life-changing moments on the road or those who have made a gigantic leap of faith in your own life journey will understand when I say that we must stop waving to the crowd behind us and to keep our eyes set on the road ahead. If we want to  really live, not just survive but to really live, then we might have to leave everything that is comfortable and familiar to us and walk out in faith.

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Sometimes, life requires us to take a risk. This will cost us. Our peers may question our judgement. Our friends may not understand. Our loved ones may feel rejected or frustrated.

But the key is this: learning to let go of what others think and embrace what you think. Embrace what God says about you. What He has planned for you.

While I can’t promise that letting go of “people pleasing” is easy, I do promise that you will never regret taking chances.

You may think twice about buying that plane ticket. You might question your doctor’s advice about taking antidepressants. You’ll probably feel embarrassed telling your family that you started seeing a therapist. And you’ll definitely, almost definitely, experience heartbreak when you finally decide to end that relationship.

But you won’t regret any of it. Oh you will feel, and feel deeply. You will cry your eyes out, yell and scream, and maybe even get angry. But you won’t live with regret.

I awoke that September morning in Edinburgh feeling chaotic, anxious, excited, sad, and nervous all at the same time. But I was free of regret. I didn’t regret buying that plane ticket. Because I knew in that moment, that despite everything and everyone, I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

And for the first time in a long time, I was really living.

 


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Meet our newest blogger: Christina Mannarano


SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAChristina Mannarano

Current City: Harrisonburg, Va

Topics: Substance Abuse, Anxiety and Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder, Self-Harming

Growing up, I lived with an abusive, and controlling alcoholic father. It was hard seeing someone you love be so difficult on themselves and their family. I firmly believed and even told myself when I was younger that I would never abuse alcohol. But things change. When I was in highschool I began drinking and partying with my friends because it was “the cool thing to do” at that age. As I grew older and got out of highschool I began looking for parties; even if it consisted of people I didn’t know just to get drunk. I hated the idea of anyone trying to control me. So when I began partying heavily and someone stated I had drank too much or should probably stop, I did just the opposite. The same thing occurred when people told me I shouldn’t drive. I was a drunk driver for many years. When I met my fiancé Joseph, I slowed down with partying and generally drank only with him and his friends. Casually enjoying a glass or wine or playing a few games and while getting drunk still occurred, it wasn’t a 3-4 times a week experience. Throughout our relationship, as we became more comfortable, I began drinking heavier again. During this time I would consider myself a bing drinker. In 2009, I had a night of heavy drinking and driving that changed my life. I went into a couple years worth of deep depression and experienced numerous anxiety attacks that changed who I was. I still get upset to this day when I think about that night, but I trust God knowing that he had a purpose behind it all. Over the next couple of years, I still drank, going in and out of jobs and happiness, and even becoming abusive to others while intoxicated. I also began harming myself physically as a failed attempt to ease my pain; I still have scars that remind me of my struggle. Thankfully at some point dying that misery I chose to actively purse sobriety. I still can’t believe that the man I caused so much turmoil with my drinking is standing beside me and marrying me this June! God is good. He is merciful and never ending! Sobriety is beautiful, and each day I thank the Lord for getting me through 24 more hours of clear-headedness. “One day at a time”

Why Where I Stand? When I first found out what Where I stand represented, I immediately felt comforted. I have faced many things throughout my years that has made me feel alone. I even had my mother at times say “I don’t know what you’re feeling or what it means?” Although my mom has done everything humanly possible to understand what I have gone through and to understand what I feel or have felt, she still has never experienced these feelings and emotions first hand and that still leaves open ended questions. Where I Stand, helps to reassure me that I’m not alone. That there are many people of different ages, races and of  the opposite sex that show me that I have support, understanding and acceptance. I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to be one more person that can and will help someone else know that they’re not alone. That they don’t have to hide or feel ashamed. I’ve suffered with substance abuse, depression and anxiety for numerous years… I want others to know they always have someone on their side… I’m Christina, and this is Where I Stand!

Fun Fact: I love learning about the body and the brain. I thoroughly enjoy to see how we, as humans, are wired and I am not bothered by any type of bodily fluids or parts. I am currently pursuing and Medical Coding Certificate, and in 2015 will be starting Nursing School!

Where I Stand is so excited to have Christina with us! Are you interested in blogging for Where I Stand?

Take a look at our bloggers bios and fill out an application if you are interested!

http://thisiswhereistand.com/meet-our-guest-bloggers/

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