Meet Denver cast member Kaitlyn McDaniel

Tell us a little about yourself. 

Kaitlyn McDaniel is a junior at University of Colorado, Denver studying in the Music Business Program. A North Dakota native, Kaitlyn moved to Colorado to pursue her passion of songwriting. After being here for three years, she never wants to leave! In her free time Kaitlyn likes to paint, bake, run, teach private lessons and spend time with her cutest puggle friend, Bella.

How has mental illness affected your life?

Mental illness is something that has secretly run in my family for generations. Though it has taken different forms, it has been prevalent in my life since I was born. Growing up in the Midwest, mental illness was looked down upon and most definitely wasn't spoken about on a personal level. Because of that stigma, I suffered alone and progressed in my disease until I recently sought aid.

Why did you want to be a part of This Is My Brave?

I wanted to be a part of This Is My Brave because my mental illness had always been a well-kept secret. For most of my life I thought if I ignored my personal problems it was almost as if they didn’t exist, that is, they only existed to me. I had viewed my mental illness as a burden to my friends and family, I had the mentality that I was being selfless by suffering alone. I found the more I speak out about my problems the less I am ashamed of them and the less burden they have on me. Hopefully by speaking about my personal experience on a public platform I can inspire others to share their stories too.

What inspires you to stay mentally healthy?

My goals inspire me to stay healthy! I feel as if I have wasted so much of my life in despair-. too many tears cried, too many times I have circled the same thoughts that come with depression, and felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. When I sought help I decided I was ready to enjoy my life, and do that at any cost. The hardest part was deciding I was worth it- but I am (we all are because if we can’t say that for ourselves, we can’t say that for anyone else). I was tired of wasting time feeling bad when I can spend that time creating music and enjoying all the world has to offer!

What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?

I hope the audience can help start the conversation. Together we can stop the stigma that comes with different mental illnesses! I hope if they aren’t personally struggling with mental illness that they may have more compassion towards the majority that do. Nobody asks for mental illness: it’s simply a difference our brain chemistry, therefore, nobody should have to ask for acceptance. We should all give it willingly!

Join us on May 19th at the Oriental Theater in Denver as we shine a light on mental illness to end stigma. Kaitlyn will be performing an original song, along with her fellow cast members performing original music, personal essays and poetry.

We hope to see you there!