Susie – 2015 Graduate
I spent the first six months of my life in an orphanage before I was adopted into a loving Christian family. As a child, I was bullied a lot for my appearance. This planted a seed of social anxiety and insecurity deep inside me. At the age of three I began playing the violin, and by age six I was on my way to pursuing a career in music. From a young age, I felt pressure to perform in order to gain the approval and love of family, friends and teachers. Due to rigorous music training, I was homeschooled. I was very shy and chose to isolate. When I was 16, I left home to attend a university for the performing arts. It didn’t take me long to realize that college life was very different from the sheltered lifestyle I had led at home. My desire to be accepted grew, and I began to party a lot. This started my journey down the road of depression. During this time I was in an emotionally and sexually abusive relationship with a guy at my school. That relationship ended abruptly when I was assaulted by one of his friends at a party. I felt ashamed and blamed myself for everything. I decided to leave school and spent the next several months dealing with the school and local authorities. I fell into a deeper depression and began to self-harm as a way to cope with the pain. I decided that I didn’t want to live anymore and found myself in and out of hospitals. Over the next year, I searched for my value in all the wrong places. I turned to men for approval and found myself trapped in a physically and sexually abusive situation that threatened the safety of both my family and me. I was admitted to a clinical treatment facility. After being discharged I met a guy that swept me off my feet, and I left home to be with him.
My mom told me about Mercy, and I decided to apply. When I got the call that I was accepted into the Mercy program, I didn’t tell anyone at first because I didn’t want to leave the relationship I was in. All of that changed a week later when I had an abortion. I was overcome with self-hatred, grief, and shame. I knew that I had hit my rock bottom and needed help.
A major turning point for me came when I began to question if I wanted to be at Mercy. I thought about leaving, but God had a very different plan for me. I learned a lot through the experience and decided to commit to finding freedom.
When I was at Mercy, for the first time in my life, I was seen for who I really was, without the façade that I tried to hide behind. I was surprised to learn that all the labels and diagnoses I had been stamped with throughout my life were not true. I wasn’t judged or defined by my musical abilities or my career. I learned that I am not defined by other people and that, through Christ, I am free from all bondage. God used the Mercy staff to show me that I am loved, cherished, and accepted for me. Through Mercy, I was able to find my true identity in Jesus Christ.
After graduating from Mercy, I hope to go back to college. My dream is to get married, have a family some day, and start my own non-profit organization, bringing hope to women and orphans around the world.
To all the Mercy supporters, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do. Without partners like you, I would not have been able to come to Mercy. I truly believe that without Mercy, I would not have survived. Mercy gave me my life back! Thank you for changing my life!