This piece by Mercy Survivor Lily was originally published on her personal blog, La Petite Maman, and can be viewed here.
Flashback Friday: October – November 2009 at Mercy Ministries (CA home).
I’m missing who I used to be. Or was this really me?
Honestly, I miss being 35 pounds less.
And to be truthful, I feel like no matter how hard I try to lose some weight…even just ten pounds…I can’t seem to stick to “the plan”.
Being a momma saves me, because I am too tired to exercise when my husband finally gets off work (and Lucas has no interest in the gym’s “kids club” or the stroller); there is no way to purge everything I eat because I don’t want to close the door in my son’s face and hear his cries.
(By the way, I can tell you straight up that Mercy Ministries has no clue about proper care for emaciated anorexics).
I gained weight because my husband took me to France during “Christmas break” from Mercy Ministries, which was almost 3 months into my stay. By December 19, I had gained close to nothing – only about 8 pounds – because staff had no idea about proper nutrition or about helping anorexics/bulimics avoid behaviours.
They had no dietitian or nutritionist the entire time I was there; there was just a nurse, who was INCREDIBLY rude and unempathetic, and who had zero clue how to help me, despite the fact that I flat out told her that I had a history of re-feeding syndrome symptoms, and that starting me off on a full meal plan immediately could cause that.
Anyway, we went to France, and I ate and ate and ate all the amazing foods, because I figured “WHATEVER I GOTTA DO THIS RIGHT?!”
I came back to Mercy Ministries eight pounds heavier after only 2.5 weeks… and the staff immediately made an insensitive comment on my weight/appearance.
Let’s just be real here: I gained that weight by stuffing my face on a daily basis when I got back to Mercy Ministries – and I made that choice to do so because I just wanted to get out of there with my “graduation certificate” and “Mercy ring” so I could tell everyone I was “healed” when I got home. I wanted OUT.
Whew, sorry, rant.
Extra side-note for people who may think I am just bitter about Mercy Ministries or something:
I graduated from the programme. I actually let them use my story and photos of my family for promotions. I blocked out everything they had done, just so I could have a pat on the back and the “good feelings” of “helping” some poor girl “in need of Mercy”.
However, I finally stopped this charade when they photoshopped my family’s photo, including my son’s face, just to make it more appealing for donors.
I finally started revisiting some of the painful memories of my stay there. Not to say that there weren’t some “fun” times or a couple supportive staff, but this programme is not treatment for women with serious mental illnesses – it is more like a Christian discipleship programme. And that’s what Mercy Ministries needs to be more honest about.