without a pulse

only seeds were left

her white-washed cheeks

and those protruding bones.

just the little girl

next door in the window

pounding stained glass

with the hurry of heartbeat

now, there are only echoes of words

don’t look through the curtains

stay in the back alley

skipping over puddles,

smoke fills the house

abandoned and broken –

without a pulse.

loss of sight

 

 

his eyes

wide and glowing green

inside something snarled

it’s voice a blend of

grinding teeth and the cracking

of knuckles

 

inside

 

its mouth opening

rows of fangs

the blood of man or woman

 

swirling around

gurgling liquid crimson

like mouthwash

 

outside

sore and swollen

he is easy target

hard to miss this weak thing

walking on rusty train tracks

writing the end too soon

 

i know how this ends –

i just forgot how it started.

lost in skin

which scar is mine?

which smile is mine?

the texture of  pain

all rough, and bumpy

 

i have seen the footage and you have too.

evidence of decay scratched into skin

the backward rolling eye – visionless.

ready to be dissected by scalpels and knives.

 

ripples of light burn as

blackness traps my eyes

starting to outgrow my own breath

 

Alyssa’s Story

 At birth is when things in my life began to shape. I was born 3 months early, weighing 1lb and 10oz. Doctors told my parents that I had a 40% chance of life expectancy and if I survive, I’d basically be a vegetable but God worked in my life right from that moment.

My family and I weren’t Christians, we didn’t even discuss religion, we lived life as people do. At the age of 3 my parents divorced and my mom decided we move to where we live now. Growing up my mom invested a lot into me and my siblings. She did the best she knew to do. My childhood was pretty good without my biological dad.
In 6th grade is when my worst and best decisions were made pre-Mercy. I accepted Christ at 12 years old but I also started cutting. I use cutting as a way to cope. In school I was always made fun of and picked on. I was always compared to my sister and very different from her so I would be made fun of for being different and in special classes. Through the dysfunction in my family and having relationships with them along with peers I came to a mindset of not caring about anything. I loved myself and hung around others who were picked on.

In 7th grade I developed an eating disorder and wasn’t attending church at all. I had no information or knowing about eating disorders, I was never introduced to them so I didn’t think anything was wrong or harmful.

In 9th grade I became a majorette and let my struggles take on what they wanted of me as I became in denial. My coach quickly noticed the eating disorder and had lots of concern. She would tell my mom and I’d be questioned but I would deny it since I didn’t know anything was wrong. I started getting involved on Facebook which resulted in me connecting with others that dealt with suicidal tendencies, eating disorders, cutting, etc. The people I came into contact with were very unsafe and unhealthy but I felt comfortable in being open, I felt understood and not alone. This got me into more harm and I would expose suicidal tendencies on my page to the point of cops showing up at my house and sending me to the hospital. The counselor I started seeing prior to this event admitted me into a mental health ward where I only received poor treatment and upon release, things only escalated to a worse lifestyle. After I was discharged I was offered to attend church with my close cousin at Grace Community Church. I was starting to hangout with people I had met at church and an adult ministry group and things got better until those friendships turned into being rescue-type relationships. I would go to them only for attention. I put them under a lot of worry. Those relationships eventually fell. I wasn’t sure who I was and I lost desire to do anything other than cope in negative ways. In the midst of all of this, I was captivated by rejection which caused the fear of forming socialization and isolation seemed comfortable and beneficial. The stronghold of rejection filled me with lies I believed and set my identity on. I believed people would enter my life just to hurt me. The hate I felt from others brought me to self-hate and torture. At this time in my life I got into alcohol and marijuana. One night I was hanging out with a friend and her older brother. I remember the night very blurrily. I was numb and couldn’t move and kept going in and out of consciousness. The next thing I knew I was in a dark room with only a bit of light enough to see that he was molesting me. After this occurred I thought I could forget about it if I just tried to pretend it didn’t happen. Keeping the secret in gave me shame and I dealt with the pain by inflicting harm on myself more.

Throughout the rest of highschool I continued my self-destruction and let people treat my badly because it’s what I convinced myself I deserved. I graduated highschool and stuck with all of my ways of coping to where it nearly took my life. I would go to parties and would go as far as staying nights in random buildings with friends and strangers just to get high and drunk. The last party I went to I was locked into the bathroom with several sharp objects scattered in a tub next to me while in a bad mental state along with being intoxicated. When I’d escape, the group of people there would grab me and pass me down the line of each person as they told me to kill myself and throw me right back in and lock the door. Thankfully I got through with no self-harm or any other hurt done physically. Soon after this I started going back to church and gained healthy relationships but I was still tangled into cutting and the eating disorder.

I got back onto Facebook and went through tons of bullying and terrible threats on there but I also got in touch with Mercy Ministries graduates that sent me a video from BarlowGirl where I seen the ad to Mercy Ministries. I decided to look at the website and was encouraged by several people from church to apply. I made the decision between Mercy and RHEMA Bible College by telling the Lord that He had to provide for the one He wanted me to choose.

Within the few months of having severe anorexia along with purging and laxative abuse I decided to apply. In the application process, I met my favorite worship leader Kari Jobe and she prayed over me to be accepted into the program.

In January of 2014 as I was going through bloodwork and other appointments to complete the application, I was diagnosed as underweight and with Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. This took a hold on my that I needed Mercy more than anything. I entered Mercy on February 6th and the beginning was a difficult time. I didn’t realize how sick and malnourished I was physically along with spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.

The days of stomach pain from required shakes, tears each meal and severe anxiety because I couldn’t work out became completely worth it.
My journey at Mercy has brought me more transformation than I ever thought possible. My body and lungs are stronger than ever, I am able to fill myself with truth and replace the old lies and have joy in nourishment. At Mercy I learned that rejection from others isn’t a reflection of my self-worth. My restoration is in the new being God has made me. I discovered the freedom of staying forward and not turning back just because someone around me has. Their behaviors don’t force me to resort to old ones.

Mercy has also brought transformation and restoration within my family. The staff loved me in ways that nobody ever has and they’ve helped me gain a true life that God’s intended for me. This program has been safe and the Lord worked through the staff and poured into me a new creation. I am saved by grace and God but also by Mercy Ministries.

My Journey

A recovery story is a messy thing. It has a lot of beginnings and middles. There is no end to a journey such as this one. The story continues. Sometimes it restarts or rewinds back to the start again. It is mostly an internal battle, a war with oneself.

I knew that I had depression before any doctor diagnosed me. It was the beginning of grade 10.  I have snapshots of the beginning. A quiet girl hiding beneath layers of clothing, looking down with no ounce of confidence. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I couldn’t shake off this feeling of not belonging not only with my friends, at my school but also in this world.  As the days grew more hazy and cloudy, I started missing school and skipping classes. My anxiety kept me in bed for days and days. Being a shy person before the storm hit, i went unnoticed in school – sitting in the back of class, rarely.. in fact, never raising my hand to answer a question (even if i knew it). I perfected the act of pretending to be fine. My smile turned into a straight line of grief that i did not know what to do with. As my illness worsened, I dug myself deeper into my grave. I began self harming later that year to get relief from my emotions and intrusive thoughts. Little did i know, i had some friends who saw the cuts on my arms and legs and told a councillor. Little time passed before my school got involved and notified my parents. I continued struggling even more with harming myself. I didn’t know then, but that was the best thing i could do at the time. Letting someone know that i wasn’t fine is what helped me.

I sat in children’s Emergency for a mental health evaluation, it wasn’t until the next morning when i finally was given a diagnoses of depression and prescribed medication. Months went by very slowly and very fast. I felt like a ghost with a beating heart. My name was put on waiting lists and programs i wasn’t sure i wanted to be on. I went through the programs and courses. I saw countless therapists and counselors but nothing really seemed to fit for me. I tackled each day, forcing myself to leave my bed, going from class to class. I lived as my diagnoses, it became my only identity as i lost myself in a very dark and never ending place i wasn’t sure i could escape from.   I didn’t notice the medication helping me or the therapy. At this time i felt hopeless and helpless. I acted inwards, taking out all of my frustration on myself.  My friends stopped talking to me and I stopped trying to talk to them, my family tried to talk to me – and they did their best. I started bingeing and purging, starving and restricting. There was no middle ground. It was one extreme or the other. Negativity sunk into my pores as exhaustion took over me. Of the many times I’ve tried to commit suicide, something always took over. A desire to live again. Some people find it helpful to get in touch with religious beliefs, like prayer or another higher power. For me, writing became my religion. Writing poetry or simply writing stories was the one thing keeping me alive.

I started an intensive outpatient program, i was able to connect with a therapist and that alone made a difference in me. This therapy has been very beneficial for me. Throughout this year, I have become a strong and even more passionate individual. It took me a very long time to realize that this was the right thing to do for myself. I couldn’t of come to this decision without the help of a very special friend who helped me along. Through my struggles I’ve been able to achieve awards and graduate from high school on time. I am now learning that i do not need to act on my thoughts, emotions, intrusive suicidal ideations. I have gone through so much already in my short life, more than your everyday teenager could comprehend.

My story is still being written, day by day i flip another page. As a mental health sufferer, survivor and advocate I want to help others that are in my place, I want to help erase the stigma surrounding mental illness. I wish for my life to be filled with more smiles and less tears. I understand now, that there will always be positive and negative aspects to life – now i have learned the skills i need to deal with any triggering events that come up. My journey has been long and painful but it has been hopeful and it has offered opportunities. My journey has not ended and it will continue on. I’ve met many amazing people that have been helpful to me and it is because of their support, i have been able to see myself as they’ve always been able to see me. I have found purpose in pain. I believe that with immense struggle, comes strength.

I am determined to win, to keep pushing through the hard days because even though it doesn’t always seem like it- there is some good in everyday. I have committed myself to learning how to live opposed to just existing. The only thing I ever really needed was the “right” support to get me back on track. I wanted to feel like I was worthy and deserved a better and fulfilling life. I’ve learned that i dont need to be “fixed”, there was nothing wrong with me in the first place.

One room and an abundance of stories.

the girl has long yellow hair

it matches her mothers

whose hands are

threading the curls of

her daughter’s’ hair.

she sits with a laid back smirk

smacked onto her face

beneath it i see the the

hurt she hides so well

the tiredness that sleep

cannot give in one dose.

blue eyes gone black at midnight.

absently awake, appearing

to be here without fear.

though her father’s mistakes

are a lived nightmare.

a fathers anger is

a battlefield of its own nature.

 

That girl has brown eyes that hide

behind black eyeshadow

and sparkling eyeliner.

her mouth has been stapled shut.

that girl hides behind clothing

her skin has been carved

with shame and self hate.

she speaks in spanish to her father

speaking fluently in a language

we don’t understand.

 

we are all speaking a language

that they don’t understand.

 

This girl

she sits beside her mother and father

with a mouth of a firecracker.

Me, I sit. Quiet and patient.

on a good day

ill give away a smile to

each person in the room.

as if to say it’s okay

I nod. Speak, if i must.

I cry. I share because i have to

open these wounds without bleeding.