On May 6, 2009 my 19 year old daughter Melissa lost her life to an eating disorder. It was a five year battle which wreaked havoc on Melissa’s self-esteem, her academic success, her friendships, and our family. It was painful, often brutal, for me to watch my only daughter self-destruct.
“Someday Melissa” is a documentary inspired by Melissa’s journal writings and designed to raise awareness of this insidious disease. Throughout her life, even in her darkest moments, Melissa’s creativity shined through. It was always hard for her to express her feelings verbally so she used film making, writing, drawing and acting as means of self-expression. When I read Melissa’s journal after her death, I felt unbelievably moved by her struggle with her inner demons and how much she was able to express their hold on her in her writing.
After a great deal of soul searching, I made the decision to share the journal with psychotherapist and eating disorder specialist Danna Markson, LCSW in the hope that it might allow her to see below the surface and help other eating disorder sufferers. Melissa’s poem “Someday…” became the inspiration for the documentary that I created with Danna and director Jeffrey Cobelli.
I still look back on those early days of Melissa’s eating disorder and marvel at how in denial we all were. “Not my child…no, couldn’t be….not her!” It took a lot for the specialists we were working with to get through to us. This is a serious disorder with serious, potentially life-threatening complications. And so, for parents who have a child struggling with an eating disorder, or who just need an education about it, I hope “Someday Melissa” helps you recognize the warning signs and the dangers, and inspires you to action.
I think about Melissa all the time and hope “Someday Melissa” will help others and give meaning to her early death.