Karyn Kulenovic answers the question:

What is the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you?


Well, there are many choices, but there is one experience that really stood out to me as something that planted an important seed in my life that has grown and blossomed all the way through today. I believe it's really special when a stranger, a complete stranger, someone who doesn't know your past history, can just look at someone and see the truth of who they are. 

In the early 2000s, when being highly sensitive and being an empath was not as widely known, I had an experience where my life was going down a path that was really challenging. I had actually been misdiagnosed with a mental illness. My sensitivity was misinterpreted as a pathology, so I want to give a little bit of context. I was busy working in my teaching career, and at the time, obviously I'm seeing many, many students, 185 students a day. I loved my job, but I didn't have the energy management tools that I needed to have as someone to be able to function and excel and really enjoy life as a highly sensitive person.

Not to mention I was having a psychic awakening of sorts, and so I was having a lot of information coming in that was of an intangible sort. And all of this happening at once culminated in me having trouble sleeping and me feeling very overwhelmed. Because of the trouble sleeping I went to see my doctor, and so that's kind of the point where I was misdiagnosed; they sent me to a psychiatrist and they put me on antidepressants. 

I ended up going through about two years of on and off of these medications, which at some point after following all of the doctor's orders, I started to realize that I was not feeling better, I was actually feeling worse. And I started to experience some pretty frightening side effects, some of the black box warnings that they have on those particular medications and I became very worried, very scared.

So I ended up going to a psychiatric day treatment center because I was not a person who was in denial. I was just saying, "I need help. These medications aren't working. I'm not sure what's going on." It was a very scary time. And I was in an office of a new doctor there, and his name was Dr. Papaleo, Steven Papaleo. He was a little man, salt-and-pepper gray hair. I remember his round glasses, and he just had such a calming, happy presence. He sat down at the desk and I was right across from him. He was kind of sketching on his notepad. He looked at me, and after looking at my file, he said, "You don't need these medications, do you?" And I said, "I don't know. I've been told that I do. I don't think that I do. I think that there's something else going on, but I'm not sure what it is." 

So he proceeded to ask me some questions and some of those questions sounded like, "Do you dream in color?" And I said, "Yeah!" Then he said, "Do you see events before they happen?" And I said, "Yeah, I've had that happen before." He then said, "Do you feel other people's emotions when you walk into a room or when you're talking to someone?" "Yes!" with exclamation points. I was getting very excited. I'm like, "This man can see me." And so in that moment I started to feel validated. I felt seen. And the work that we ended up doing together, as he was weaning me off of these antidepressants, was to look at my dreams. And so he introduced me to working with the unconscious mind, and he specifically did dreamwork.

So instead of him prescribing me more medications and following that old conventional route, he actually could see me. And I felt that as we worked together, he was shining this light into my soul, into the truth of who I was. Because up to that point, nobody could tell me anything good about me as far as, "Yes, you have to be on these medications. You're going to be fine, but this is kind of how life is going to be." He was the first medical doctor who said to me, "Karyn, you don't need these. You're highly sensitive. You have psychic abilities. To hear that from a doctor... it just blew my mind.

And the work that we did, working with my dreams, really gave me a new perspective on healing. And as we did that work, I was tapping into my intuition, my inner guidance, and it was so empowering to get to that point where I knew I could get better. I knew that being sensitive, being gifted in that way, was something I could learn to work with.

And through the years I have, and that planted that seed for this mission in my life today, which is to empower other highly sensitives, other empathic souls who are having experiences that aren't always tangible — and to validate those and to give strategies and ways for people to work with those abilities.

So Dr. Papalao gave me a beautiful gift those many years ago when he said to me, "You're not ill, you're highly sensitive, you're empathic — it's a gift, and it's not a pathology." I will always remember that man. He was with me, working with me for just a short time, and I'll always remember that because it truly shaped the perspective that I have today.

Karyn Kulenovic is an Empowerment Coach and Master Practitioner of NLP, Mental and Emotional Release®, and Hypnosis. She helps highly sensitive professionals clear out negative patterns by accessing their unconscious mind, so they can activate the wellspring of power within and live peaceful, prosperous lives.

Karyn uses a combination of education, intuitive coaching, and practical techniques to facilitate fast and lasting transformation, so her clients can reach their goals without delay. She envisions a world where sensitive souls are connected with their power and joy, and have everything they need to fulfill their greater purpose. 

One of her biggest life lessons was realizing that her sensitivity was not a weakness or an illness, but instead a gift to nurture and refine. This realization led her to unconventional paths of healing and abundance that actually work. Now she shares her knowledge and expertise with others to accelerate their path to success.

Today, Karyn works with sensitive souls worldwide, giving them the tools to optimize their unique energy, reprogram unconscious patterns, and transform their future.

Click here to visit Karyn’s website, Healing in Bloom.

Catalyst is produced by The Shift Network to feature inspiring stories and provide information to help shift consciousness and take practical action. To receive Catalyst twice a month, sign up here.

This article appears in: 2020 Catalyst, Issue 5: Evolved Empath Summit