Autobiography Helps in Mental Health Healing


University of Louisville Hospital

Carolyn Furdek shares her emotional story of hope and resilience

Mysterious mental health struggles followed Carolyn Furdek through three military deployments and the years after her service. Today, Carolyn enjoys a new chapter as a physical therapist at University of Louisville Hospital — and a newly published author.

The autobiography is titled Locked In: A Soldier and Civilian’s Struggle with Invisible Wounds and was released Jan. 6, 2017. The book tells Carolyn’s emotional story of hope and resilience, and her determination to find a diagnosis for her unique mental health symptoms.

After seeing many specialists, Carolyn met with a renowned Louisville psychiatrist who had the answer. With the right medication, Carolyn is now feeling much better. She works as a physical therapist on PRN status to balance her career with personal health needs.

“Everyone at KentuckyOne has been so supportive,” she said. “Working with the smartest and hardest-working people around is the best part of my job.”

Carolyn also enjoys seeing patients’ progress. They arrive injured, perhaps after the worst day of their lives. Then they get up and walk again, appreciative of the staff for the skills and education they’ve gained to move on with their lives.

Progress for local mental health services also has Carolyn energized this month. The new inpatient psychiatry services unit at University of Louisville Hospital, which opened this January, has individual patient rooms, natural lighting and a park-like theme. Carolyn said it’s the best unit she’s ever seen.

“The mental facilities I was in as a patient were drab and unpleasant. I’m really happy to see that lots of time and effort went into the new unit at University of Louisville Hospital.”

Carolyn first decided on a health care career while volunteering with physical therapy patients at a military hospital. She was inspired by the patients’ positive outlook despite severe injuries. “One soldier said he was happy because he came home. Four of his guys didn’t,” Carolyn said. “I could relate to that.”

She hopes her stories help others overcome their invisible wounds. Book signings are planned in the coming months, and a portion of book sales will be donated to Athena’s Sisters, a nonprofit that supports female veterans.

Fulfilling the KentuckyOne Promise

Through Carolyn’s own difficult journey, she has shown us how to make the most of an Opportunity — she wrote a book to help others.

Carolyn also lives out the Promise Standard of Meaningful Work, bringing a Be Here Now approach to every shift.