This piece by Mercy Survivor Britt speaks with honesty about her mental health issues and compares Mercy Ministries’ approach with “secular psychiatry”.  This piece was originally published on her personal blog and can be viewed at Hits & Near Misses.

Once again I’ve been cleaning out my room and I’ve stumbled across a whole heap of Mercy (the religious rehab cult type place I was in from ’06-’07) stuff that has made me shiver. Folders starting from when I first entered the program to when they told me I would be ‘graduating’ (which, mind you, never happened.)

I noticed in my counselling folder that I had a habit of writing small post-it note comments of things that I had probably thought of during the week to bring up in the session. Some of these included, hearing voices, seeing things, shaking violently, waking up with hand marks all over me, staring into space not knowing where I was and having overwhelming feelings of anger that I just wanted to hurt myself or someone else there so much it was crazy.

Now, one thing that I do remember is that from these post-it notes probably 5% of them were actually brought up in the session. Why? Because I knew how they would be dealt with. We would suddenly flick through the counselling manual to ‘Demonic Oppression’, stand up, possibly bring in the other “counsellor” and say a whole heap of shit in the hope that these weird situations wouldn’t arise again, ensuring that my underqualifed ‘counsellor’ would have an issue free therapy session where she could talk about random shit and her upcoming wedding. You think I’m joking…I bet I could find at least another 10 residents who can recall these incidents happening for them as well.

Now, I have learnt from my mistakes made 6 years ago and even though I don’t bring up every single example of crazy shit that happens in my week my Psych still understands what’s going on and deals with it appropriately. Not with prayer, standing and discipline in the form of cleaning and gardening (no jokes.), but with medication, zapping and locking up. Sometimes it’s hard to accept but I need to start being honest with myself and what exactly is going on in this little brain of mine.

This shit isn’t going to go away overnight. The voices, the hallucinations, the physical jerking and thrashing about still continues on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. It’s something i’ll have to live with. And I’m slowly learning to accept it.

The only thing I know that I’ll need to learn to start doing is being honest with those who are in charge of my mental health treatment. I guess if I don’t, I’ll just end up back fighting a freaky battle in the dark…scaring the shit out of myself and probably doing something stupid.. faster than planned.

Written By Brittany