Kerry Jeffery – emotional anchors in the midst of chronic illness

Meet Kerry Jeffery

Born and raised in Frankston, Victoria I am the Mother of two amazing men, the youngest of whom lives with me. I am a classic introvert including being an HSP (highly sensitive person) and an empath and love spending lots of time alone, books, nature, and a good series on Netflix.

I live with 4 chronic autoimmune conditions: Antiphospholipid syndrome, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Celiac Disease, and most recently, Type 1 autoimmune diabetes. Managing my health, energy, and conditions is a very important part of my life.

What business are you currently running?

Emotional Autoimmunity. I offer unique therapy programs that include Hypnotherapy, Counselling, and Life Coaching exclusively online, helping clients around the world overcome the trauma, guilt, anxiety, and overwhelm of living with chronic illness.

Assuming you are now in “Your Next Chapter”, what led you here? Was there an internal discontent or an external issue you felt strongly about that prompted a change in direction?

Prior to my diagnosis with Hashimoto’s 6 years ago that left me physically and cognitively disabled and being told that I needed to accept that as my “new normal”, I was working from home as a therapist helping the adult children of toxic parents overcome the trauma and guilt of their upbringing.

When I became chronically ill, I was desperate for information on how to come to terms emotionally with the huge changes and the grief that chronic illness brings to your life and there was nothing out there to help me or offer me any sort of guidance.

I connected with others who had a chronic illness and listened to their stories of how they felt and how they coped and I started putting my skills and strategies to use on myself, to take back control of my health, life, and happiness and Emotional Autoimmunity evolved from there.

I wanted to provide that practical emotional support and strategies that I was looking for when I first became chronically ill and offer comfort and reassurance to others that life can still be good and meaningful.

What did you find most challenging about getting started/moving in a new direction?

I was unable to work or support myself for the first year after diagnosis so I was basically starting again from scratch and had to rebuild my business again from the ground up. New website, new social media, new list, and finding and refining my niche and gaining clarity about what I do and what emotional issues and challenges I help people resolve.

The autoimmune disease makes things like focus, energy, and motivation unpredictable and unreliable. Managing my energy is more important than managing my time and I need to build in rest periods throughout my day and pace myself carefully.

You can be doing everything “right” and autoimmune flares will still happen that can stop me for days or severely impact how I feel and what I can do until they pass.

What have you found most fulfilling?

Seeing the changes in my clients as they go from traumatised, overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed to calmer, happier, feeling in control with better relationships, and feeling confident about their future. Words can’t describe how amazing it feels to be part of that.

Have you experienced self-doubt? What causes it to flare and how do you work through it when it hits?

Yes, very much because what I am doing is very much in a new field where there are no “experts” to follow. I feel very much like a path breaker, charting new territory, and needing to rely on my own skills and experience as I go.

I have found that trusting and believing in myself is the best way to get through any periods of self-doubt.

How do you feel you have grown since you started?

Exponentially. I refer to myself now as “Kerry 3.0”. Becoming chronically ill was a loss of myself and the life and future I thought I was going to have.

Being recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes is another huge change in my life and managing the emotional side of insulin dependency and the very real dangers that come with being type 1 means incorporating new habits, beliefs, expectations, and embracing more uncertainty.

Becoming chronically ill has been the biggest self-growth experience of my life.

Have you developed any particular habits/strategies that facilitate getting things done in your business?

That is still a work in progress. I had to begin again with basic foundations such as getting to bed and getting up at a regular time.

Clients always come first and my energy goes into client work first. Everything else is secondary.

Why do you feel women in the 40’s and beyond make fabulous entrepreneurs?

I think that generally women in their 40’s and beyond are starting to finally think about what they want and what gives meaning to their lives and how that can be used to benefit themselves and others.

What would you say to other women who are standing on the edge of their own Next Chapter, not sure if they can take the leap?

That it’s a leap of faith and so worth the jump.

You will be caught and led exactly where you need to be, even if it feels like you have been pushed off a cliff.

What’s next for you? Share your vision with us!

The eventual goal is more digital products, a signature online course so that I can teach people the key emotional skills they need to start living well with chronic illness and finishing my book “How to deal with your toxic parents”.

It’s all under the big umbrella of emotional advocacy for people who live with an invisible chronic illness like me. The biggest issue we face in disbelief and lack of support from those that we love and medical gaslighting which causes so much unnecessary trauma and pain.

 

When I’m facing something new and challenging I…
Step in with reassurance and trust myself.

 

I know my greatest strengths are…
Compassion, empathy, and having a gift for counseling.

 

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…
Trust yourself, you will always be enough.

 

Some of my favourite books are…
Good Fantasy/world-building novels. I cut my reading teeth on the Lord of the Rings and have been hooked on the genre ever since.

 

My favourite podcasts are…
My own? I rarely listen to podcasts. I would much rather read.

 

My favourite business tool or resource is…
Canva.

 

My favourite quote is…
“Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda

 

Not many people know that I…
Love to sing and was in an amateur production of The Pyjama Game before I had my first child.

 

You can connect with Kerry here.

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Angela Raspass

Mentoring women in their 40's and beyond to build sustainable businesses blending contribution, fulfilment and financial reward.

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