Hello! My name is Dr. Amanda Ensor. For as long as I could remember, I have wanted to become a veterinarian. I have always had a love for science and medicine, a true compassion for the welfare of animals, and the drive to pursue a career that I was proud of. With determination, an insane amount of studying, and $170,000 in student loan debt, I was able to achieve my lifelong dream. I have since been practicing small animal veterinary medicine in Tennessee for the past 7 years. I felt the need to introduce myself as a veterinarian mainly because this is all that I have known for the past 7 years. Although I love so many aspects of my career, I have let it define who I am entirely. So much so, that I have lost sight of a huge part of me. Over the past year, I have had to come to terms with the consequences of that. Sure, I have saved many lives and built meaningful relationships with countless clients and patients, but it has cost me so much in my personal life. Even though I am proud to be a veterinarian, I am now aware that it was dangerous for me to have had only one dream. I have suppressed so many other passions by telling myself that there just wasn’t room for them. In this past year, I have shared parts of my story through social media, and I was pleasantly surprised to have colleagues and random individuals reach out to me to let me know that my story helped them in some way. Therefore, I decided to start this blog, in hopes of helping others and discovering more about myself. I hope you will join me on this journey and I am happy that you have decided to stop by my page. It is nice to meet you.
Let’s start from the beginning. I grew up in East Tennessee with parents that divorced when I was a young. My father is an orthopedic surgeon and my mother a jack of all trades that has always done whatever possible to make sure I had everything I needed. I grew up living with my mother and always seeking approval from my father. I learned early on that I needed to be serious about a career that would allow me to be independent and self sufficient. I have always had an ambitious and compassionate heart that eventually led to me becoming a veterinarian. I poured my heart and soul into this career, but around 5 years into practice, I started to exhibit burnout, depression, panic attacks, and was questioning whether I even enjoyed veterinary medicine anymore. Being a veterinarian consumed my entire life. I no longer had anything left to be a loving wife, a fun aunt, a close daughter/daughter-in-law, or a good friend. I felt the need to work constantly in order to pay off my school loan debt as I have never had debt before and I find it crippling. I was also convinced that the more I worked, the more important and successful I would be. Instead, I was left feeling empty and unfulfilled. At this time, I have no desire to leave the Veterinary profession (although many of my colleagues have), but I am happy to report that as of last year, I have been on a better path of letting more life in and not letting my profession define me.
I want to strongly emphasize that more often than not, being a veterinarian is extremely rewarding. I have been fortunate to practice high quality medicine and develop some incredible relationships with my clients and patients that I will cherish forever. If my career revolved around just building relationships with clients, examining sweet puppies and kittens, saving the lives of dogs and cats, relieving their pain, and ending suffering, then our profession would not be in the dire state that it is in. Instead, we are often unable to establish boundaries with clients that expect us to be available 100% of the time, consumed by insurmountable school loans that leave us having to work side jobs on top of already working full time, feel stuck in toxic work environments, or are pinned as “money hungry” when we aren’t able to provide good quality medicine at little to no cost. Studies show that veterinarians are at a much higher risk of suicide than the general public. Therefore, I have always been hyperaware of my mental health and have always made a point to check in with myself from time to time. That’s me… always with a plan. However, in order to truly get to a better place, I have had numerous of those plans fail. I hate to get this heavy with my first blog post, but without doing so, it would be hard to explain the reason behind my journey towards a more rewarding life. Stay tuned as I take you through my road to minimalism, managing my school loans, helping start a women’s mentoring organization, traveling, enjoying my marriage, rekindling other meaningful relationships in my life, and building new ones. In the words of Dwight K. Shrute “There is nothing on my horizon except everything. Everything is on my horizon.”