Cover Image: In Our Blood

In Our Blood

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Member Reviews

An unflinchingly honest and vulnerable memoir about a woman’s mental illness journey as a mental health care professional and a mother to two children. I really loved this even though I did have to put it down a few times due to the heaviness of the content. Thank you to NetGalley and She Writes Press for e-book!
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This memoir, written by Caitlin Billings, follows a journey of mental health challenges from the perspectives of a social worker (therapist), patient, and parent three roles that Caitlin knows all too well.

Caitlin shares her love for her career in Social Work supporting patients who are struggling with a variety of addictions, trauma and mental illnesses. Throughout the book she is able to weave in stories about a variety of patients she has worked with and the parallels between her personal and professional life. Added to the already really challenging role that being a Social Worker has on a person's mental health, over the course of Caitlin's adult life she struggles to accept her own diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. In a completely open and honest telling of the many ups and downs she experienced as she followed her own mental health journey, Caitlin gives a very unique and valuable perspective to readers to learn more about mental illness. As Caitlin begins to feel some success with her own treatment and is developing acceptance of her diagnosis, her oldest child turns 12 and begins to exhibit signs of mental illness. Caitlin now needs to learn how to parent a transgender child who suffers from eating disorders, self-harm and suicidal thoughts, while also dealing with her personal mental health challenges and those of her patients.

This memoir is extremely well written and gives so many details about challenges that so many people face but are afraid to share. It is an important book and a topic that requires more public education and societal understanding. I really loved this memoir and would highly recommend it. However, there are some topics that may be very hard for readers to engage in. Content Warnings: suicide, self-harm, addiction, domestic violence, sexual assault, incest, assault with a weapon, trauma. I am so appreciative of NetGalley and the publisher, PR By The Book, for giving me the opportunity to read and review this amazing book! You should definitely grab a copy now that it has been published!
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Caitlin shares the life that she’s lived in a brutally honest memoir, In Our Blood. Caitlin shares her story in a courageous, insightful book into her journey with mental illness. This book follows Caitlin, through her career as a therapist and her subsequent decline and hospitalization with bipolar disorder. Not only must Caitlin navigate her own mental illness journey, but also, that of her child. She did an amazing job documenting the struggles, triumphs, ups, and downs of her life. This book is a worthwhile read for anyone struggling with mental illness or exposed to family member’s mental illness. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review
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In Our Blood is about mental health and hospitalization. But Caitlin Billings tells a story even more pressing than one woman’s journey. She talks honestly about the genetic aspects of mental health and we see her struggle with her child who is facing the same illness. This book is open, honest, and daring. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to see what mental health is really like.
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I thought this was an amazing memoir, but it is very, very heavy so I think you do have to prepare to read it because I don't know if I was in the right spot mentally at first when I tried to start it. 

I am obsessed with the prose. It's so gorgeous and lyrical. From the beginning, I was hooked. 
The descriptions were so clear and vivid
I feel like the beginning was a perfect place to start and then flashback gradually from
Time jumps were an interesting tool
I like the way that emotions were described- they really resonated with me
I felt like her relationship with food/her body was very universal for teenage girls and it was nice to see it portrayed in such a vulnerable way

I do wish that there was a clearer trigger warning for discussion of self harm because it really upset me and I had to walk away from the book for a little bit as someone who does have some experiences in the past which were closely related. 
I wish the theme of crazy girl vs hovering clinician had been brought up in the beginning because it was really interest, but kind of appeared out of nowhere in hte middle. It would've been a great way to start the book
It feels strange that if Avery is  trans, the author was just misgendering them for the book- she could've at least made a note at the beginning saying that or say that he is AFAB but use other pronouns? Most importantly, she never referred to him as her son, just as her child and I wasn't sure what his identity is but it seems like he's a trans guy, so that rubbed me the wrong way.
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Thank you NetGalley and She Writes Press for the opportunity to read and review this book.

In Our Blood follows Caitlin as she begins her career as a therapist. She is hoping the struggles and trauma from her past will help her relate to her clients.

This book is so honest and real and it can relate to a lot of people struggling with mental health issues. I praise the author desire to seek help and treatment. 

Caitlin, thank you for sharing your story with the world. It’s helping bring awareness to mental health. 

Wish you and your family all the best.

I received this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I received an ARC of, In Our Blood, by Caitlin Billings.  What a book,  Caitlin has gone through  a lot of grief and trauma in her life.  The strength she has is amazing.
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A fascinating memoir, providing an insight into mental ill health from the experience of both survivor and clinician. Bear in mind this book contains potentially triggering topics. A wonderful and insightful read.
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A strong, important personal narrative with universal appeal.  I was very drawn in by this book qnd it kept me riveted to the end.  The voice is super interesting in particular.
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In Our Blood is a story that needs to be heard. It is the memoir of Caitlin Billings and her never ending mental health issues. Well, I say never ending but that's not exactly true. 

The book begins with her father issues. The biological father who deserted her and the step-father who wasn't much of a father figure at all. It continues through school and the rape that occured while she was an exchange student in Mexico. She was promiscuous in high school, searching for love and acceptance. Although she didn't invite the rape, she didn't walk away, and she could have.

As time went on, she came to realize she had a mental health problem. Her main problems were cutting her body and suicidal ideation. She also battled anorexia. Her psychiatrist told her she was bipolar but she refused to accept the diagnosis. She knew she had issues but didn't feel the bipolar label was accurate.

She was married to Allen and had two children, Hannah/Avery and Danny. She was close to her children and had a loving relationship with Allen. She was an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker). I was amazed at how she was able to continue her work in spite of several hospitalizations. 

Her daughter Hannah was plagued with a bipolar diagnosis as well. She started with anorexia and progressed to cutting and eventual suicidal ideation, just like her mother. 

Caitlin and Allen invited Allen's cousin Ted to stay with them for a while, as he was sorting his life out. While there, he sexually assaulted Hannah. Caitlin learned about it through one of Hannah's friend's parents. About this time, Hannah was dealing with her sexual identity. She told her mother she felt like she was a boy and changed her name to Avery. She became transgendered and lived her life as a male. Caitlin believed that this was caused by the trauma of being sexually abused. Whether that was true or not remains a mystery. At any rate, Avery experienced several hospitalizations as well. 

Caitlin was prescribed lithium, which she didn't like. But every time she stopped taking it she relapsed. Eventually, she realized it was a good call and she no longer balked. In time, both Caitlin and Avery were able to find meds that worked for them and they were stabilized. 

In the end, Caitlin and Allen bought a new house, thus providing them with a fresh start, old memories aside. The book ended with Avery going over seas to school. 

I only had one problem with this book. It was the way the author went back and forth from the past to the present. It was convoluted. She'd be in the present, then she'd go back in time, and then she'd come forward again. There were no transitions. I had difficulty keeping up. Otherwise, the story was one that I really enjoyed. In the beginning, I said it was a story of her never ending mental health issues. But there was an end. She found a balance. There is a stigma around mental health issues. This story lays it wide open, providing an eye witness account into the darkness that accompanies mental health trauma, a story that bears telling. I commend Caitlin Billings and her bravery.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
This memoir is told with true emotion and honesty. The memoir tells of mental illness experiences told from a therapist who has had several hospitalizations as well as her child suffering from their own mental health struggles and hospitalizations. There's a lot of sadness but also hope for a better future for the whole family.
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It feels silly rating a memoir, when someone willing opens up their life and lets you in. Who are we to judge if that life is entertaining enough?

In Our Blood follows Caitlin Billings as she navigates life as a therapist, hoping her past trauma will help her understand and heal her patients. A triggering episode causes a relapse, throwing her carefully constructed world into disarray.  Suddenly she feels like she is failing, as a professional and as a mother.

I know this will sound cliché, but this book is just so honest and raw. There is nothing swept under the rug: we see all the mistakes, all the struggles and lies. There are no excuses here. Just a heartbreaking take on a woman’s life-long struggle with her mental health, her diagnosis, and the ripple effects it has on her family, especially her eldest child. 

I admire the author so much for her willingness to seek treatment, despite the stigma and the shame she feels at first. I think this book will give other’s struggling with trauma and mental health a sense of being understood, of being seen and validated. Asking for help when it’s needed is a sign of strength, not weakness. 

As far as the writing goes, the book was laid out in a nice, chronological order, with flashbacks at appropriate times. It took me a while to get into at first, because I found the writing very wordy and over-descriptive.  Over-use of adjectives in some instances that took away from the story instead of adding to it. 

Overall, I would recommend this book. Discussing mental health should be encouraged, and I thank Billings for sharing her journey (and Avery’s) with us. 

There are so many content warning for this book. Please read the synopsis before delving into this book. They include, but are probably not limited to: sexual assault, self harm, suicide ideation, eating disorders, substance abuse.
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