Opening to Love

Caitlyn is part of the Mental Health Awareness Project (MHAP). MHAP increases the dialog about the importance of mental health. As a mental health peer educator, Caitlyn engages young people to talk about their mental health and breakdown the stigma impeding people from seeking mental health services.

At 9 years old, I was told I would be moving in with my grandparents. I was upset, confused, and grieving for my old home upstate in the mountains, regardless of how unsafe and unstable it was. I resented my grandparents for not being my biological parents. 

My grandparent’s old school parenting style where emotions were rarely part of a conversation led me to believe mine wasn’t important. No one talked about our family trauma and everything began to feel shameful. I was going into high school, I was angry and sad and learning about my sexuality. 

A deeper divide between us happened when I was caught with a highschool girlfriend. Our relationship continued to fracture and it became harder for me to be vulnerable to the possibility of accepting love from them. My skin would burn if they tried to hug me, I would shut down in conversation with them. This remained true until recently. 

After consistently going to therapy, I was cracked wide open to love. After each session, I felt more and more free in my ability to accept love from my grandparents and from everyone else in my life. I have always been desperate for love, love that I could feel and taste and touch and experience but I could not take down the wall I built at a young age. I can’t begin to explain how good this feels, how good love can feel. I’m still learning, healing, growing and sometimes I feel like I’m 9 again, but I can’t wait to see where our relationship goes from here. Where I go from here.

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MHAP provides communities with self-care tips and wellness resources for those who need mental health services.

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