ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Caitlin Billings wants to open up a dialogue with the world and encourage everyone to be vulnerable.
A Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of California, she specializes in deep trauma therapy and is pursuing EMDR Therapy certification. Caitlin owns her own private practice and works as a clinical supervisor for two bay area non-profit organizations that provide treatment and healing for families of intimate partner violence and mothers overcoming substance use disorders. Despite initially receiving an undergraduate degree in dance and movement studies, she was drawn to social work for a better understanding of the human psyche and to inhabit social change. She intended to heal from her past as she helped others to do the same. Her initial pursuit of acting and dance stemmed from a similar fascination with deep emotion and embodying others’ sensitivities.
Throughout her career, Caitlin has worked with court-mandated groups for domestic violence offenders, partial hospitalization programs, substance use programs, residential rehabilitation services, family support services and as a birthing doula. She has also contended with abandonment from her biological father, an eating disorder, a deep-set need for perfection, post-traumatic stress and bipolar disorder. Despite involuntary hospitalizations and an initial refusal to accept her bipolar diagnosis, Caitlin reclaimed her life and sanity, successfully establishing herself as a professional and a supportive mother to her gender-fluid elder child.
Caitlin is honored by her work, sitting with individuals as they process their trauma and step toward healing. Everyone has some cognition of “I don’t matter; I’m worthless” due to society’s expectations. She aims to prove that people can build a depth of understanding and acceptance if they embrace imperfection and self-love. By sharing her memoir, “warts and all,” she hopes to change the lives of others with her message, “You matter. You are no other. You are not alone.”
ABOUT THE BOOK
Caitlin Billings thought she could neatly walk away from her past. After finding support in her adoptive father and overcoming an eating disorder in college, she thought she had worked through her own pain enough to provide support for others. In her work as a mental health professional and role as a mother, she felt tremendous pressure to be perfect and present stability.
But a hold-up at gunpoint breaks her carefully balanced world apart. Suddenly, Caitlin is trapped by frightening mental health issues while raising two young children, and just when she feels in control of her newfound bipolar disorder, her elder child shows similar depressive symptoms. Convinced she is to blame for her child’s pain, Caitlin is determined to be perfect, to provide stability for her family—until an allegation of sexual assault in their home makes her question her fundamental ability to protect her children. Amidst a relapse and overwhelming internalized shame, her elder child comes out as transgender, forcing Caitlin to reconsider her own tolerance and understanding.
Part coming-of-age, part reckoning of motherhood, In Our Blood is a therapist’s honest account of professional and personal struggles and an intergenerational story of acceptance, self-love and fluidity.
- A therapist’s honest account of their own mental health and the need to embrace imperfection
- What is bipolar disorder and how has the media affected society’s understanding of it?
- Society’s demand for mental health professionals and parents to present perfection and stability
- Destigmatizing buzz words such as “trauma-informed” and “safe space” regarding the recent social media debate surrounding the “validation” of trauma-informed mental health professionals
- Raising a gender-fluid teen and supporting adolescents through mental health struggles
- Intergenerational story weaving two coming-of-age journeys together through the universal themes of tolerance, self-love and acceptance
- How vulnerability breeds understanding and connection with others
- How The Color Purple first opened Caitlin’s mind to the perspectives and sensitivities of others
- How the pandemic has affected mental health care – the benefits and failings of tele-health
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): a trauma treatment that utilizes the whole mind and body, not just the prefrontal cortex, bringing relief to the entire system through reprocessing and desensitization of old pain
PRAISE FOR IN OUR BLOOD
“An important and powerful contribution to the genre, Billings’ insightful, compassionate, and deeply felt memoir traces the thread of personal history as it informs her work as a therapist. A must-read for both mental health professionals and general readers alike, this book breaks down the perception of barriers that divide us—between ‘provider’ and ‘consumer,’ between ‘expert’ and ‘patient,’ between ‘sick’ and ‘well’—in a work that speaks to the hope of healing and wholeness for us all.” —Marya Hornbacher, New York Times bestselling author of Wasted and Madness: A Bipolar Life.
“Caitlin Billings deftly interweaves stories from her professional therapy work with her dramatic personal experiences. As a health professional diagnosed with bipolar, I closely identified with her struggles to accept both her diagnosis and the prescribed treatments. In Our Blood is a compelling, evocative and—with its intergenerational focus—unique addition to the mental health literature.” —Merryl Hammond, PhD, author of Mad Like Me: Travels in Bipolar Country
“More than a memoir or a case study, this is a page-turner that will draw you all the way in and have you rooting for the author and her family; and maybe even help you feel a little less alone.” —Dave Stevens, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
“In Our Blood is an impassioned memoir that shares an authentic journey… an important piece of mental health literature and should be a must-read for anyone looking for personal experiences with mental illness.” —Literary Titan, five-star review
“Extremely compassionate and thoughtful, Caitlin Billings writes her memoir with an intensity that will pierce readers to their core… Tackling crucial themes, In Our Blood is written with the rhythm of a songwriter and the grace of a dancer.” —Indies Today, five-star review
“In stunningly sharp and vivid language… Billings joins a growing number of therapists and doctors who push back against the stigma within the field. Bravo!” —Willa Goodfellow, author of Prozac Monologues: A Voice from the Edge
“Caitlin Billings shares the story of both her own mental health struggles and those of her loved ones in a way that is intimate and vulnerable. This book is a beautifully crafted and compelling page-turner. I was rooting for Caitlin and her family the entire time.” —Melanie D. Gibson, author of Kicking and Screaming: A Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts