Lynanne: Can you imagine as a young little girl sharing your backyard with prisoners and the police station? And that is what my next guest experienced for all of her life until she moved away, and it brought on extreme trauma, and it also affected her nervous system. And later, she had a nervous breakdown and has studied the nervous system and has discovered that when your nervous system is heightened and you do not know how to deregulate or turn it down, then you are a ticking time bomb. Do you ever think that you’re running your life on autopilot? Well, that was me. For over 40 years, I was dealing with a past childhood trauma that hadn’t been fully addressed. Even though I had gone to therapy and I’ve done different methods of healing, there was something missing, and I felt incomplete. And then a couple of years ago, I realized what the answer was. My name is Lynanne, and I’m here to help you advance your healing to a brand new level where you can fully embrace the femininity and beautiful, sexy mama who you are. And I want to share that with you through this podcast. Myself and my guests are going to inspire you with our stories of our healing and how we have truly triumphed after trauma.

I am back, everybody, and I have an awesome guest today. This is Karen Austen. Hey, Karen.

Karen: Hey, Lynne. How are you?

Lynanne: Oh, I’m wonderful. So we have the pleasure of hearing about her experiences and things that she’s done to really turn her life around and fully heal. And I’m not saying, like, just a tiny bit or just a lot, but she has fully healed, so she’s going to tell her story. And also, I want to just warn you, if you couldn’t tell already, she comes to us from Australia, so we get to hear her lovely accent. I love it. It’s so great to have you here, Karen.

Early-Life Experiences and the Nervous System

Karen: Thank you so much. Thank you for the honor of being able to share a little of my story to all of your listeners. And I really do wish to share with you, it is possible to heal on every single level and a little of my background. My fifth birthday, there’s a photo of me blowing out the candles, and we have the table in the backyard and the birthday cakes in the backyard. And right behind me in the back corner of the photo is the prison cell. So we had the prison cell in our backyard and the police station attached to our house. So safety was not a thing that I embodied from a very early age, everyone that came to our house was in various states of trauma, distress, panic. And the work my father did as the town policeman had him hit PTSD very early on in his police career. There are so many things that happened, and of course, being the child of the local school teacher, and the local police officer. We had to be better than good. And so there was nowhere in my world that safety for full self expression was available to me.

And that does something to the nervous system. The nervous system is this amazing part of our anatomy and our being and our body that mobilizes us when there’s danger. And so imagine if your nervous system, and it may have already happened to you, your nervous system was turned on at a really early age, but you didn’t know how to turn it off. Well, not so much turn it off, you just didn’t know how to down regulate it. And so imagine having your nervous system on fight or flight or freeze from the age of three. The body is so wise, it sort of makes that normal in some respects. And you’re going through world with the accelerator on and the brake on. So of course my nervous system was really wired. I went into the criminal justice system as a career, so that meant four decades of vicarious trauma. Now that’s a lot for one body to handle. And then you add into that all the crazy things that happen as a woman, those situations that you can find yourself through absolutely no fault of your own, different levels of violence.

Burnout in Later Years

So my body was worn out. It was absolutely worn out. And I was told that I only had a 20% chance of ever working again. I was made to leave my work, my career, because I just couldn’t cope anymore. And they told me I had a one in five chance of ever working again and I thought I’ll take those odds. I had nothing. I was exhausted. I hadn’t slept for a year. I was depressed, high anxiety, I was reacting at the smallest thing. I just couldn’t even bear to be in the same room as one other person. Their energy was too strong. I cried for months. Like you name it. I was a mess on the floor in the corner. And there was this moment that I thought, okay, if I only have a one in five chance of ever working again, my contribution to the planet is I’m going to be the healthiest person I could possibly be. I didn’t know what that would look like. I just knew that it was my responsibility to be the healthiest person I could be physically, mentally and emotionally. And just having that intention set me off on the most amazing journey around the world with the final piece of the puzzle being healing the nervous system. And until you heal the nervous system, you are always going to hit a ceiling. There’s always going to be only so far you can get in your healing journey. You can do all the mental work and you can do all the emotional work. But until the body tells the story and until the nervous system becomes this amazing treasure that you know how to work with because it knows how to mobilize. It knows how to mobilize, and it is responsible for all the automatic things that happen in the body.

All those automatic things like digestion, like heart, like the breath, like the blood, like the circulation, all of these things in the body that we take for granted. So imagine if the nervous system was completely mobilized and it is responsible for all of those things, and it’s not working properly in that it’s not demobilizing. It’s like it has to mobilize to keep us safe and keep us out of danger. It then has to come back and down regulate and be this amazing fluid and rhythmic system that we have access to. And there is a way, there’s a number of ways that you can downregulate your nervous system and discharge all of those patterns and memories that are stuck in the cells of the body.

And I’m sorry, Lynanne, I can talk about the nervous system forever because it’s so potent and so powerful and so necessary for a healing every single level, and we don’t hear enough about it.

Lynanne: No. Okay, so I just need to ask a couple of questions and a couple of burning questions. One is let’s just go back in time. So I want to know, did you have other siblings?

Karen: I did. I have two sisters. Yes. One older, one younger.

Lynanne: Okay. And did they feel the same? Did they feel unsafe? I guess as a child, you didn’t realize you probably didn’t realize that you were not safe.

Karen: No, we didn’t. It was normal. And when I say to people we had the prison cell in the backyard and the police station in the house, they’re absolutely shocked. Right. And that shows you the differences in our nervous system. Because it was normal for me so it was normal for me to be surrounded by people who are in different stages of trauma and distress. And my sisters are glorious, glorious women, and they’ve been through their own journey and are going through their own journey. And we all exhibited our childhood in different ways as we grew up as adults. Yeah.

The Healing Journey

Lynanne: Okay. And so I’m just curious to know, because one part of healing that I feel that so many trauma heroes I’m not going to call them survivors or victims, I’m calling as trauma heroes. Something that is so necessary for many is validation.

Karen: Absolutely.

Lynanne: Where you were a child, and I think for your parents, they were doing their work and you were a family member, their child, but they still had their responsibilities. And so at some point, did you ever receive the validation because the adults in your life, obviously they had a responsibility in the lack of safety that you felt?

Karen: Well, I think for many of us, I think society as a whole, very few children get the regulation that they need as a child. There’s very few children. And if I look back in those moments, my mum and dad were doing the absolute best they possibly could. Absolutely. My father was it was a one policeman town and there was a community in the town who had a lot of interpersonal violence things happening in their community. And dad would be called out there all the time and he would get out there and he wouldn’t even know how many people were there to beat him up. So his nervous system was completely wired into trauma. And then my mom was doing her best, her absolute best, to keep us safe. It just wasn’t in a way that supported our emotional well being. They did absolutely everything that they could. And if they could have done it differently, they would have.

And that’s the moment where when we go through our journey, I’m speaking on behalf of myself, I would blame things, I’d blame all of these external things, right? I needed this, I needed that. I didn’t get this, I didn’t get that. But that doesn’t get me anywhere. It really doesn’t. And there was this moment where I really got that my life happened the way it did because it happened the way it did. And for me to love myself completely and utterly and fully now, I just can’t hate anything that made me this way and I can’t blame anything that made me this way. So for me to fully love who I am now and the journey that I’ve been on and what I can offer as a therapist and a coach and a mentor, a facilitator, all of these juicy things that I now am and offer to others on the path I have to fully embrace and accept that everyone was absolute doing the best they possibly could in that moment.

Lynanne: Oh, my goodness. I really hope our listeners share this message with the world. It’s so beautiful. Wow. I’m really in awe. Thank you.

Karen: Yeah. And it does take work, right? I didn’t just wake up this way. Yeah, it takes the work. I don’t want to say. You have to. My invitation is that there is this passion and power and purpose inside of every single one. And the healing process is releasing the past so that you can be present right now and have those visions really embodied as a full feeling of passion so that the future that is available for you and is calling you forth. It’s almost like my friend calls me. He says that I can cast a person’s future. It’s like I can call their future out of them and cast it like a spell so that it allows them to take the actions and it gives them the courage and the commitment and the compassion for themselves to step into the future that I can call forth out of them, which I think I would not have had that capacity if I didn’t have this life.

Lynanne: Oh, yeah, you’re right. Do you feel that you can do what your friend described.

Karen: Yeah, I can. I do it. My capacity to listen another into existence and another into their being is really refined, and I can say part of that happened. When I was in the criminal justice system, I would have people come to me all the time in various states of distress, and I would have 15 minutes to extract the essence of their problem, determine if they were telling me the truth. Figure out if we had a remedy in the local court, prepare their documents and then teach them how to present their matter in court. And so my capacity to listen what’s said and what’s not said. And also when we have something in our life that we don’t have a lot of power around, we have a failure pattern. And we say it in our language, so I hear the person’s failure pattern in their language and so then we sort of just break that down and then create it anew.

Lynanne: Wow. Very fascinating. Okay, we definitely have to continue this because you haven’t even talked about the nervous system. I want to talk more about regulating, because I can understand that, but I need a better picture. I think our listeners could use a better picture of that too. And then also we’re going to follow up. Not right now, but I want to know why you went into the criminal justice system and then when you were told pretty much, hey, your life’s kind of at an end, you don’t really have much more that you can do. And you wanted to go back to you wanted to keep doing that work, So we need to continue this. I want to find out what that was all about. So please tell our listeners how they can get in touch with you. Because, goodness, if you can sit here and fully take ownership, that’s the best way I can say it of your life, your part in it, and also making every day beautiful because you want it. I think our listeners will definitely benefit from what you have to offer.

Karen: Thank you so much, Lynn. Yes, I’m so sorry. My life has been very rich and full and yes, I’m sorry we didn’t get to talk about the nervous system yet, so people can find me on Facebook. My name is Karen. K-A-R-E-N. Austen. Three. The number three. I have a Facebook group called Living and Loving Unleashed, and my website still under construction: Karenausten.com.

Lynanne: Well, by the time this airs, it’s going to be ready.

Karen:It will, absolutely.

Lynanne: Okay, well, I’m so excited for our next visit together. Thank you so much, Karen.

Karen: You’re so welcome. Thank you, Lynn. Thank you for the privilege of sharing with your listeners.

Lynanne: 2020 has been insane. I think everyone would agree that it was not the year we expected it to be. And for me, I decided that this next episode, I want to feature me, yours truly, because I’ve had guests on every single week since I began my episode about or my podcast about two and a half months ago. And I think it’s time for you to know some of the things that I have had to go through beginning in 2019. And one of those things is I lived apart from my husband for six months and there was a big reason for that. And I want to share with you some of the transitions that I’ve gone through, some of the healing and the courage it’s taken to start this podcast. And I’d love to spend some time with you, just me, no other guests. So I will catch you on the next episode. I think it’s awesome that you’ve spent the time with us today. And my guests and I, we have been through a lot to heal our trauma and to get to where we are today. And I hope that you’ve been inspired. Please be sure to subscribe rate and review this podcast. Don’t forget to share it with other women who, you know, are looking for some more resources to help them along their healing journey. Also, go to our website, theselexymama.com, where you have an opportunity to book a call with me, where we can talk together. I can assess where you are in your healing journey to see if there’s more that I can do for you. And we have a private Facebook group which is an amazing resource for you, for women only. It’s called triumph after trauma. And I will catch you next time. Bye.

Episode Summary

My body and mind were on the verge of shutting down, all because my nervous system had been pushed to its limits for far too long. My childhood, which seemed “normal” at the time, had finally caught up with me. Faced with a breakdown, I found myself at a crossroads: I could either choose to live and embark on the challenging journey of healing, or I could give up and resign myself to never contributing to humanity again.

Not many children are fortunate enough to experience a childhood that fosters healthy nervous system regulation, and they often don’t realize what “healthy” truly means until much later in life. I used to blame external factors for my circumstances, considering it the norm, until I had an epiphany. It became evident that the course of my life had been shaped by the experiences of my childhood.

But here’s the remarkable part: those very experiences were what ultimately led me to become fully healed and aware of how to make a positive impact on countless others. I’ve embraced the roles of my family members and all the challenges life has thrown at me. Through recognition and taking ownership of my past, I’ve managed to release the traumas that held me back and now live fully in the present. I’ve come to realize that complete healing is not only possible but achievable!

Key Takeaways

  • Nervous System’s Response to Stress: Early life experiences can significantly impact an individual’s nervous system, often keeping it in a heightened state of alertness. This heightened state can lead to emotional and physical distress.
  • Healing and Well-being: Following a period of emotional crisis, many individuals embark on a healing journey. It’s widely recognized that regulating the nervous system is essential for overall well-being and personal growth.
  • Self-Acceptance and Coping with Challenges: Self-acceptance is a fundamental aspect of coping with challenging life situations. Recognizing that individuals, including parents, do their best given their circumstances is a crucial step in the process of healing from difficult experiences.
  • Empowerment and Self-Discovery: The process of healing empowers individuals to fully embrace themselves and their life journeys. It encourages them to take an active role in their own healing and personal growth.

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