Carolyn has the most incredible family. She has loving parents and an amazing sister who have been her biggest cheerleaders since day one. Despite all the love and support around her, at an early age Carolyn felt like she never fit in. Growing up she always struggled making friends. She felt alone. She would try to develop friendships, but friends would come and go. She began to internalize that she was the problem. She was not good enough and something was wrong with her. She felt alone and unworthy.
Carolyn became the victim of school bullying. Different schools had the same result. Going to a new school was supposed to be a new opportunity to find some other friends and start to fit in. Unfortunately, that did not happen. She was bullied. As a consequence, she internalized the beliefs of her bullies. The voices of her bullies became the voice in her own mind: “I am ugly,” “I am unworthy,” and “I am not good enough.” These beliefs continued to be how she thought of herself through middle and high school.
The depression got worse, and Carolyn started experiencing significant anxiety. She was depressed every day and never was her true self. This made her start to hate herself and life. She felt that she was never enough for anyone or any group. She started to feel worthless and wanted to die. She began to spend time with others struggling with depression and those friendships quickly became toxic as she was introduced to self-harm as an answer to her internal pain.
Her sophomore year of high school she was diagnosed with a learning disability. This explained some of the academic struggles she had had but still made her question even more why she was so different from the other kids in her class. She spent the remaining years of high school at a boarding school that specialized in education for kids with learning disabilities, trying to make sense of it all.
College was to be a new start. It was supposed to be “the best four years of your life” and Carolyn hoped that was going to be true. Unfortunately, at college Carolyn quickly fell into deep depression and despair. She felt isolated and began to have thoughts of suicide ideation. A call from her longtime best friend “saved” her. She returned home after one semester and began college locally, but was still struggling despite ongoing intensive therapy.
In the second semester of her senior year Carolyn was involved in a serious auto accident. She was a passenger in a car that was the victim of a hit and run driver. The accident impacted Carolyn’s perspective on her life. She began to appreciate therapy with a new outlook. Therapy finally began to repair the damage done by early bullying and reinforced implementing positive coping skills. Although sometimes she still has those days, she now believes that yes, she is enough; yes, she is worthy; and yes, her friends today truly love her just the way she is.
Carolyn is passionate about sharing her story in the hopes that everyone who hears it can appreciate that they, too, are worthy and enough.
Carolyn is located in Pittsburgh, PA. In-person speaking engagements beyond 90 miles may require a fee for travel expenses.