Jennifer Knight, MS
Trauma Informed Certified Life Coach
Hi, I'm Jen. I'm a life coach, voice actor, and mother of two seriously awesome kids. I'm also a singer with a successful rock band and a new album. Before that, I used my Masters degree as a clinician and director in corporate healthcare for 15 years. My amazing husband and I own a craft coffee roasting business that is fun and delicious. I've lived in Chicago, New Orleans, Nashville, then San Francisco, and currently live really well in the beautiful Napa Valley.
And for years I woke up every morning and thought to myself, "Why do I feel like shit?"
The truth is, after a lifetime of perfectionism and over achieving, I was exhausted. I was eating and drinking too much, and for several years I'd been careening toward burnout. In 2019 I knew I couldn’t go on this way. I decided that finally losing some weight would be the answer. I went on a ketogenic diet and, being the over achiever that I am, lost 20 pounds in 6 weeks.
As I did, I started experiencing symptoms like increased fatigue, dizziness, heart palpitations, brain fog, shortness of breath, facial flushing, trembling, and adrenaline rushes that would last for hours. I was terrified and believed I would surely have a heart attack. I thought I was dying. I contemplated my children growing up without a mother. I went to the Emergency Room five times in the course of a couple of months. On January 7th, 2020 I went twice in one day. I couldn't work and was afraid to drive.
I was experiencing severe burnout and my body was crying out for help.
Mind you, I’m a “put together” well educated, highly resourced White woman. But after checking my heart, I was told every time, "There's nothing wrong with you." I was given a prescription for Ativan and Zoloft and essentially told to “calm down.” There's a name for this now. It's called "medical gaslighting." This felt traumatic and I didn't know where to turn.
I took the meds, but this wasn’t the answer for me. Something was going on and I knew it. Even if they wouldn’t listen, I knew it.
Eventually I discovered life coaching and made a connection between my thoughts and my feelings and how this ultimately shapes our experience and reality. I recognized that my mind was completely unmanaged and I was flooded with negative and hopeless thoughts. But the watershed moment was understanding that I needed to heal my nervous system to resolve the anxiety and panic that I was left with. I learned how trauma can influence us physically. My body had been trying to communicate with me, and I committed to start listening.
But the trauma did not go without effect.
Six months later I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It felt like a sucker punch. I was desperate to understand why. Why did I get cancer? Did the previous emotional crisis have something to do with it? Do emotions effect our body? Can trauma create disease? Did living in "sympathetic dominance" or in a fight or flight state create illness in my body?
I have been searching for these answers and have come to know for sure that, while stress, fear, and feeling helpless might not have been entirely causative, they absolutely play a role. And ultimate wellness comes from managing your mind, listening to your body, and dissolving old stuck patterns of belief and behavior (that oftentimes come from trauma) that no longer serve us.
Thankfully, after surgery and radiation therapy, I was declared cancer free. But my journey to self discovery and making intentional choices had just begun.
Today, as a Trauma Informed Life Coach, I think, feel and live like my life depends on it--because it does! I make bold choices for myself. I truly love myself (for the very first time!) and have a renewed capacity to love others. I have developed a relationship with health anxiety, fear--and even death, through coaching.
Side effects have included:
Maintaining 20 pound weight loss with no drama
Eliminating over-drinking (I quit entirely because I LOVE not drinking!)
Connecting with my true purpose and professional calling
Improving my marriage and parenting
Learning how to manage that "voice in my head" aka negative self talk
and I'm moving toward not overworking and cultivating a calendar that is loving instead of punishing
It might sound cliche, but burnout and cancer were gifts. An invitation and a wakeup call. And coaching was the catalyst to transforming and rebuilding my life with intention and purpose.
I still have shit days. I haven't eliminated failure, anxiety, insecurity, or fears. But my relationship to it all affords me so much freedom and peace.
And I want to be an example of what's possible. Because I sincerely believe that to push the needle in this world, we need more women LIKE YOU to show up as the boldest and most loving expressions of themselves.
Join me. Let's go.