Thursday, December 10, 2009
I'm working on another post on God's Creative Power, but in the meantime, I have a question for fellow Mercy survivors in particular, but anyone else is welcome to answer as well. 

Is it difficult for you to hear/sing songs that remind you of Mercy?

Sometimes we sing Hillsong songs in praise chapel at my school. Mostly, as long as I prepare myself, get it in my head that they very likely will come up, I can deal with it. But if I forget, and one catches me by surprise...I freak out. I honestly want to plug my ears and run out of chapel. (I actually did quickly get out of chapel once!) Sometimes I just can't deal with it. 

This morning, for instance. I'm not going to make a habit of putting my current personal struggles up here for all to see, but occasionally there's something that I feel all right about putting up. We had praise chapel with the orchestra this morning -- those are always my favorite ones, they're amazing! But the second song was "Lord, You Are Good" by Israel and New Breed. Not Hillsong, but the only time I've ever heard of them is at Mercy, so the same association is there. And it just went downhill after that. Not that they're bad songs, I think I'd love them if I didn't associate them with Mercy. But every song after that was either Hillsong, or something that sounded an awful lot like Hillsong. Just a little ways into it, my legs were shaking so bad that I had to sit down. Fortunately, I carry a couple of little things in my pocket to hold onto if something like this happens. I decided to focus on the orchestra, and when I was listening for them, I didn't hear the words as much. I just kept telling myself stuff like, "It's okay. You're 22 years old. That was 3 years ago, and you never have to go back there again." Even though logically I know all this, when I'm in an emotional flashback, it helps to ground me. So, made it through the rest of praise chapel sitting down, talking to myself, holding my little rock, focusing on the orchestra. Whew! And I'm still shaking -- my counselor last year told me that that's just the body releasing energy after a stressful situation, so now that I know why it happens, I'm not as self-conscious. 

Anyway, I just wanted to see if anyone else can relate to that -- if it's a fairly normal thing for people who have been through what we've been through. And I just wanted to share my experience, because I know there have been a lot of things that I thought were "just me," until a fellow Mercy survivor mentioned them. So hopefully I can let someone else know that they are not alone, and reassure myself at the same time. =)


  1. Recovering Alumni said...

    Sounds kind of like a PTSD reaction (though I'm certainly no psychologist). I also have severe reactions to seemingly innocuous things that remind me of my time at Teen Mania.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:17 PM  

  2. ex mercy resident said...

    Yes a lot of songs have that affect on me too. Particularly Hillsong songs. When I hear them in church, on the radio or anywhere it takes me back to that place of being at Mercy and feeling like totally unworthy, dirty, demon posessed scum. My heart also races because I still feel like I'm going to get in trouble for not having my hands raised in the air and eyes closed.

    I'm sorry but don't really have any good suggestions. When I have to hear one of those songs and I can't change the radio station or anything, I just have to keep telling myself the song is between me and God and I remind myself that Mercy doesn't even come into it. The words of the song can be between me and God, and that relationship is so special that something as bad as Mercy can't interfere with it unless I let it. Reminding myself not to let it is the hard thing.

    Current Hillsong songs don't have that affect on me, only the songs from the time I was at Mercy.

    I agree with the other person who said it's a PTSD affect.

    I have thought of a way to try and reverse it, I don't know if it will work but it might be worth a try. Would you like me to give my suggestion here in the comments section? I don't want to over step my mark, but maybe we can all try and see if it works. Grace let me know and I will type out what I think we can try.

    December 12, 2009 at 3:13 AM  

  3. Anonymous said...

    When I hear a Hillsong song on the radio/Internet that I heard during my time at Mercy, I usually skip it if I can. I don't deal with the physical reactions as much when hearing a song, but I do deal with memories of that time and place. Remembering is often difficult.

    I just keep reminding myself that I can take these thoughts and hurts to God, that He is big enough to help me deal with them, and that He knows how painful it is. For me, there's some comfort in that.

    December 12, 2009 at 11:03 PM  

  4. Anonymous said...

    I can totally relate. When ever i hear a hillsong song that i sang at mercy its like it gives me the chills. I kinda freak out.

    December 16, 2009 at 4:57 PM  

  5. jodilynn said..., I know this comment is way late...but I can definitely relate to what you are saying. I don't really know what else to say other than you aren't alone in what you are experiencing.

    May 14, 2010 at 10:30 PM  

  6. Lily Jane said...

    There are so many songs and terms, etc that remind me of Mercy. I can really relate to a lot of what you said in your other post about how Mercy negatively affected you, too. I am trying to re-train my brain when it comes to Mercy songs by listening to them while doing something positive, instead. :)

    September 4, 2010 at 3:52 PM  

  7. Sarah Mac said...

    Okay I know this post is over a year old, but I really wanted to add my comment...
    I still struggle so much with hearing the songs that we would do a Mercy, it can be so hard sometimes to hear or see anything that reminds me of Mercy. I have been diagnosed with PTSD as a result of the trauma of what happened to me there

    January 11, 2011 at 12:42 PM  

  8. Anonymous said...

    Certainly. Music can reach us on many levels, so I can see it being a very strong trigger of emotional response. I'm not so much triggered by todays worship songs, but the ones we sang while I was there are an entirely different story. The church I attend now might play one on occasion. When they do, it is triggering to me as well. My thoughts immediately go to what staff or Nancy is thinking about me. Not that I'm worshiping God. I really try to concentrate on the words and their meaning at that point. It helps a little.

    February 6, 2011 at 6:51 AM  

  9. Anonymous said...

    I can no longer listen to any of those songs, I was originally from hillsong church and attended mercy in another location, after my time at mercy I went back to church at hillsong but was judged or even ignored by mercy leaders, I can no longer go to church as I cant handle any of it anymore and I can no longer listen to christian radio stations, if i here a hillsong cd being played in the shopping centre I have to get out of there asap

    March 10, 2011 at 6:11 AM  

  10. Anonymous said...

    My daughter was at the Lincoln, CA branch of Mercy Ministries for one year for treatment of an eating disorder. After receiving "recovered memory therapy" at Mercy Ministries, a form of therapy not used by reputable treatment centers/counselors, my daughter had false memories of sexual abuse by me, her father (initially it was some schoolmates and then expanded to me when changed counselors). She cut off all contact with our entire family, and now has a "new family", courtesy of Mercy Ministries. We tried to contact the "new family" she is living with, to no avail. We sent my daughter to Mercy to treat her eating disorder, and now we have lost our daughter. I have since corresponded with some former girls who went to Mercy (including some graduates) who say it is a cult, and that there are other girls they know from Mercy who have cut ties to their family as well, based on false memories.

    February 7, 2012 at 7:34 PM  

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