Hitting Rock Bottom: Confessions of a Recovering Conformist
Have you had one of those experiences where you feel so low that you just can’t go on? Whether from the loss of a job, loss of a loved one, loss of a relationship or a loss of your sense of self, you feel that you just can’t sink any lower?
I’ve had many of those experiences over the last 10 years. You’d think that after one I’d learn my lesson, but it just didn’t work out that way. In fact, I’m not unlike many humans that just have to hit their heads against a wall several times in order to make a dramatic change for the better.
In my case, I had to become so dissatisfied with the status quo that change was not only attractive it was imperative! It became clear that from the depths of my misery there was only one way to go — UP!
A few years ago, when my career in the U.S. as a TV personality and medical doctor was at an all-time high, my spirits were at an all-time low. I was called upon by the likes of Oprah Winfrey, CNN, and top healing institutions to give my take on medical issues and how to improve health and wellbeing.
After publishing a book on a holistic approach to wellness I immediately began helping those around me line up their mind, body and spirit to achieve greater health and happiness. I felt inspired to do this out of compassion, of course, but there was also a sense of guilt that compelled me to do more and more. All the while, I was denying a very important part of my soul’s greatest desire — to bring forth energy and emotion through the arts. In particular, I denied myself the joy of expressing myself through song.
I have written and played music since childhood, but I always carried an internal critic and internal judge that told me I wasn’t as good as “famous person X” and that my talents would be better utilized in a more tangible way — like through the practice of medicine. At various points in my professional career there were signs galore that my talents as a performer were not only adequate but substantially inspiring to others. So I continued to write and sing — in secret — never letting the majority of my music see the light of day.
For over 12 years I worked in the media and for a while, I was satisfied to be on TV sharing insights on medical news stories, inspirational tips for improving one’s relationships or compelling people to get their weekly three-orgasm quota. Overtime, however, I felt sad, alone and empty.
It wasn’t until I became pregnant with my daughter that I hit my version of rock bottom. It was then that I realized that I could not bring a child into the world while pretending to be happy living ‘the American dream’ with the great career, expense account and impressive Rolodex. My work felt like a farce. I mean, how could I tell others to “follow their bliss” if I didn’t do it myself? How could I teach my daughter to be authentic and true if I weren’t doing it, too?
Something deep inside of me — I know now that it has been my soul all along! — screamed out to be acknowledged, heard, and accepted. Now I am honoring my dreams for I know that they are the treasures of my soul. I am writing and singing songs from my heart to my daughter, friends and anyone who’ll listen, while still encouraging others to find and follow their own voice. I have found peace and enjoy a greater sense of happiness, and yes, even purpose!
So I wonder, have you hit your rock bottom? What will it take for YOU to listen to that precious voice calling out for recognition and attention? Do you know you need to make a change in your life but you don’t know where to start?
I invite you to share you comments here to express and explore your talents and passions while enjoying a supportive environment.
Yours in empowerment,
Follow Andrea Pennington, M.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrAndrea