“When I’m a therapist someday, I’m going to know exactly what to say to my clients, because I’ve been there. I am called to be a therapist,” I proclaimed enthusiastically to my grandmother. We both felt chills run down our spines, bursting with excitement for my future.
Needless to say, after years of being in therapy for my own eating disorder and studying psychology in college, I felt certain that I had made the right career choice—after all, I knew eating disorders like the back of my hand.
As if my education, experience and knowledge weren’t enough to solidify my plan of action, I became involved with teaching elementary students about the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of eating disorders
. I was brought into the school as an “expert” on the topic and I found impressive success in reaching the eighth graders I was presenting to. The students’ parents would even contact my mother, enthusiastically sharing with her that their children were deeply moved and inspired by my presentations.
I knew early on that I had a unique gift for communicating in the field of eating disorder recovery
. This, I was sure, would provide the fundamental skills I would need to be a successful therapist.
However, as I grew older, something in my once-rock solid plan simply did not sit right with me. I felt pulled in another direction, but I had no idea what direction I was being pulled toward. I decided that the best path would be to broaden my horizons and pursue a graduate degree in social work.
I spent my last summer interning with the amazing Jenni Schaefer
, who opened a whole new world to me. With Jenni’s support and guidance, I reached thousands of readers with my message of hope — and made lasting contacts in the field I always dreamt of working in.
Yet, something inside me still felt “off”.
Eventually, I took some time off from blogging and networking and sat with my discomfort. I thought, “Ok, brain, tell me where I’m supposed to go. I’ll be anything and I’ll do anything; just give me some clarity”. However, my brain did not have the answers.
Next, I opened my heart in prayer and relied on meditation and reflection, allowing the promise of possibility to energize me. I was fully ready to embrace change, and once I had freed my mind from rigidity, I got my answer:
I would become a lawyer.
How does one go from believing she was called to be a therapist to pursuing a law degree? The answer is simple: my end goal is still the same.
I still have strong intentions to make a lasting difference in the field of eating disorders. I yearn to work to help widen access to insurance benefits for adults and children seeking eating disorder treatment
— and I yearn to advocate for the rights of those battling mental illnesses of any kind.
As I pursue this next step, I will continue using my public speaking talents to educate people of all ages about the dangers of eating disorders
and, better yet, the beautiful hope of recovery. Each skill that I so carefully developed prior to this life-changing decision will accompany me in my career as a lawyer.
I believe that every experience I’ve had in this field will shape me into an incredibly effective lawyer who actively contributes to the field of eating disorder recovery and mental health awareness.
Change is a beautiful thing because it is about balance. With change, you gain many things, and you still keep the important pieces from your past.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if I am a lawyer, a therapist, or any other profession. I am true to myself and I stick to my values, regardless of where life takes me. Most importantly, I have accepted the change I wished to see, and I have found peace.
I am sharing my story because everybody faces change at some point in their lives (especially during recovery) and I hope to be a beacon of hope that change doesn’t have to be scary. Change can be daunting, but you can be fearless. If, and when, change comes your way, accept it — truly accept
the change you wish to see in your life. You may be amazed by the blessings that come with venturing down a new path.
Tara DeAngelis writes, “I am an eating disorder recovery blogger and mental health advocate. I write about recovery because it allows my battle with anorexia to come full circle — I began as a girl battling her ED and morphed into a voice of hope for many seeking their own recoveries!”