America is a place for second chances and second acts. My current career is definitely my second act. I had to give up a potential career in research due to my illness. I kept getting sick, was in and out of the hospital, and had to go on disability. I was really, really bad at times. A lot of my hospitalizations were not voluntary. Some of it was the meds- they didn't realize I was bipolar, and then when they did, I was badly medicated for a while.
Once the meds got a little better, and I also started taking a bunch of supplements, I started feeling better enough to want to move on to something else. I learned about occupational therapy after my mother had a stroke, and decided it sounded like a good career for me. I also thought it sounded like a good ladder- if I could do the required volunteer work and take the remaining pre-req's to get admitted to a Master's program, then I could do the coursework. If I could do the coursework, then I could do the internships. If I could do the internships, then I could get a job and work full-time.
I took it all on faith that it would work. I even charged all the pre-req courses that I took at the local community college on my credit card, figuring either someday I'd pay it off- either that, or things would have gotten a lot worse- in which case there was bankruptcy. And I took out the maximum loans to pay all of my graduate school tuition (which I am still paying off).
But it was worth it. I have had a second chance, a second act. Something that hit me today, as my promotion at work went in to effect officially, I am now a senior occupational therapist. I love what I do, I can't imagine not being an occupational therapist. I am very lucky.