I struggled with anxiety since birth. I couldn’t self soothe like most infants can. The first panic attack I remember having was at age five. I had been using some type of self-harm as far back as I can remember. We moved when I was eight, and that was when my struggle with depression began. I was bullied in school during those years and felt very alone both at home and at school. When I was eleven, we moved again, and the bullying continued there. By high school I was struggling with severe anxiety and depression. In my sophomore year of high school, the self-harm took on the form of cutting. I had also been struggling with food for a long time prior, but that was the year it morphed into a full-blown eating disorder. I was hospitalized twice for suicidal thoughts and tendencies, spent time in an intensive outpatient program, was in counseling for five years, and attended another residential program before Mercy.
I found Mercy on Google when I was searching for a treatment center. I ended up going to a different one, but about a year later, I applied to Mercy. I was still struggling after my first stay, but my insurance said that they wouldn’t pay for any more treatment for me because I “wasn’t sick enough.” When I came into the Mercy program, I was scared of nearly everything and everyone. I had layers of walls up around me. I thought I was stupid, small, and unlovable.
One of my main turning points was the first time I heard from God personally. It was after one of the classes, and He began speaking to my heart about free will and why He allows bad things to happen.
At Mercy all my layers of walls were broken down. Now I’m free to love and be loved deeply. I learned to identify the lies I believed about myself and replace them with truths. I learned that God speaks directly to me, and I learned how to hear Him. I learned that opening myself up to love is worth the pain of saying goodbye. I also learned that even though I was born afraid, I was not born to be afraid. I don’t have to be afraid anymore, and I’m not!
After Mercy I’m moving to a new state to get a job and a fresh start there. I’m planning to go back to school in the next year or so to study social work. I want to become a Certified Play Therapist. I’m going to marry the wonderful man that God has picked out for me, and we’re going to foster/adopt children. I dream of someday opening a free community center called Fly Free Community Center.
I’m so thankful to Nancy, the Mercy staff, and all the donors. Without Mercy I don’t know how I would’ve ended up, but I’m pretty confident that the woman I would’ve been couldn’t hold a candle to the woman I will be now through Christ. Thank you!