DEBRA Chalmers ditched a successful career in the NHS and a £50,000 a year salary to put people in touch with the spirit world. Katy Wheeler finds out why.
AS career changes go they don’t come much more drastic than moving from a field based on fact and science to one that explores the unknown.
However, such was Debra Chalmers’ choice to leave her post as head of sexual health services for County Durham and Darlington to become a psychic medium.
Her “powers” are something the 37-year-old’s learnt to live with over the decades from experiencing visions as a toddler to saying she saw dead people walking through the hospital.
She admits that her new career is something that can’t be scientifically proven, but after years of juggling free charity readings with a full-time job, she felt compelled to devote her time to her “gift.”
Debra, from County Durham, said: “I had a career in science and a masters degree in science and I went into something that can’t be scientifically proven.
“You do get a lot of criticism for being a medium, but life isn’t black and white.”
Recalling how she first discovered she was different to others, Debra said: “When I was growing up I didn’t realise that everyone couldn’t see my imaginary friend, then as a teenager visions became stronger in the sense that I couldn’t turn them off.
“I didn’t want the gift at all. I was training to be a nurse and was dealing with death a lot.
“Then, when I was about 20/21 a doorway to the spirit world flung open and I couldn’t turn it off.”
Debra says when she was younger she didn’t know how to handle what she saw and heard – she says she would be walking down the street and hear things like “she’s in debt” “he’s cheating on his wife”.
Though she says she saw and heard spirits trying to communicate with patients at work, she never passed the messages on because of her code of conduct as a nurse.
“As I got older I realised it was a gift,” she said. “I’d got to a point where I was established in my career, but I was disillusioned with pushing bits of paper around.
“I’d gone to see a psychic medium and I might as well have burnt my money, she was just making stuff up. It’s a field that is riddled with frauds, but I wanted to prove that not everyone was like that so I began doing it for charity.”
Realising she couldn’t juggle both, Debra gave up her NHS job and now does live shows in which she receives messages which she relays to the audience.
She said: “Some of the messages can be generic to start with like saying does anyone know a John, everyone knows a John.
“But as you go through the evening the messages become more specific. I don’t like to make things fit though, so sometimes messages go untaken.
“I always try to be as honest as I can. I think the key is to be ethical, to pass messages on in a respectful manner and to be transparent.
“Some things sound random to me, but they make sense to the person they are meant for. I’m just the messenger.”
She added: “I never pass on messages that are bad, always messages of love. Sometimes people just want proof.”
l An Evening with Debra Chalmers at the Quayside Exchange takes place tonight from 7.30pm, with doors opening at 6.45pm. Tickets, priced at £10, can be ordered in advance from www.debrachalmers.com or bought on the door, subject to availability.