This piece by Mercy Survivor Chelsea was originally published on her personal blog, The Pink Propaganda, and can be viewed here.
For a long time, years. I hated myself for making the decision to go to Mercy Ministries. I hated Mercy Ministries for what they had done to me. I regretted the mistake I took getting on the plane and landing in Missouri.
People often go to Mercy Ministries and they learn to submit, they learn to shut up, they learn to let others rule their lives for them. From what time they wake up in the morning, to what they eat, to who they talk to. Mercy Ministries claims to empower people, but they dis-empower them.
I didn’t need to learn from Mercy Ministries how to submit. I already knew how. I had been in a dozen psychiatric wards, most not my choice. I already knew how to let doctors run my life. I already knew how to be told when to wake up and when to pee and when I could be free and when I couldn’t. I had already mastered that art. I knew how to let people put me on whatever drugs they wanted me on, and do whatever they wanted to do to me.
When Mercy Ministries went overboard and used tactics on me that you would use in mind control, they terrified me. I worked twenty times harder to please them and twenty times harder to do what they wanted, when they wanted it and how they wanted it. I ate what they told me to eat, I wore what they told me to wear, I did the assignments they told me to do, went off the meds they told me were satanic. I DID EVERYTHING and then some. And that’s when I cracked. I worked for three months to make sure I never got ONE single discipline. And I didn’t.
But I can remember the moment I cracked. The moment I started standing up for myself. It had been there three months at that point and I was a born introvert. I needed time alone, but that’s what mind control groups do to get to you, if you like time alone, they make sure you are with people constantly and if you need people to energize, they make sure to make you spend a lot of time alone. They break you down.
At that point we were sitting in praise and worship and I needed time alone. I NEEDED time alone. I had spent three months trying to find spare seconds of it. If I didn’t get it at that point, right then, I was going to fall into a panic attack. No a break down. I remember sitting there and thinking to myself, “what is physically stopping me from going up into my room and being alone”? I mean there was a staff member at the door, but she wasn’t holding a grenade launcher and if I laid on my bed and they came after me, what were they going to do, strap me to a chair in praise and worship? What would they say, “GET UP NOW”. Would they use their mean voices? Would they tell me I was being rebellious? Would they convince me I was being overtaken by rebellious spirits? I mean I didn’t HAVE to believe them? Who were these people anyway right? Why should I believe them? Why am I listening to them?
So I went. I walked past the staff member at the door and ran up the stairs and laid down on my bed and nobody bothered me. I assumed that they assumed I ran out of praise and worship with tears in my eyes, because I was looking for attention. Because anything you did there was looking for attention. If they didn’t come bother you, it was clear they thought you were looking for attention. Typical rationalizations of people who are not qualified to be working with psychiatric conditions.
But that day lit a spark and it started something. I then started doing things my way. I never did anything that was particularly rebellious towards them on purpose. Just MY way and not theirs. And that was rebellion to them.
It started out small. In the morning were allowed two sugars in our coffee, but I had always put three in it. Always, my entire coffee drinking life. So I took three and they never even knew about it, but it was what I wanted. I started to see the staff for what they were. Humans, not gods. I walked miles when they told me to run and when they refused me an important phone call, I notified them that I would be leaving to go look for a phone.
Eventually my ability to see them as humans and not gods interfered with my ability to trust them, and to follow them blindly. And I am glad.
When I got out my self esteem was very poor. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that even though I didn’t see them as gods, they blamed my failure on me and reported the same to my family.
I did bounce back though. It took me a little while. It took a lot of hurt and pain. And it wasn’t something that I could just “get over” in a couple months. It was readjusting my entire mindset. It was seeing the truth and continuing on with the fact that nobody ruled my life, BUT me.
I don’t work hard to please people anymore. I don’t grapple to be accepted constantly. I know what I need and when I need it and I make sure I’m not given anything less. I don’t let people control or dictate who I am as a person or what I need or want in life. I have an identity now.
I’m not sitting here and saying that I am thankful for what happened to me at Mercy Ministries, but I am saying that I, myself used it to create positive circumstances where there used to be negative ones. And none of that credit goes to Mercy Ministries, it goes to me and my work and what I’ve done. I’ve built my self esteem, I’ve learned to ask for what I need, I’ve learned to stand up for myself, I’ve learned to control my life, I’ve learned to empower myself, when everybody around me attempts to dis-empower me. I built strength where there was weakness. I DID THAT.
And you can too.