Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Someday Melissa"

I posted this on twitter today and was deeply moved by this story, a mother's loss, a daughter's story. If you haven't read it, please take the time to do so. Any eating disorder death is heart wrenching and is a reminder of the stark reality that we can all die from this illness.

In this story, Judy Arvin, the mother of Melissa, who died at age 19 from bulimia, decided to make a documentary about her daughter's life and ultimately her death from bulimia. She felt it was a way to both help her grieve over the loss of her only daughter and to educate others about this illness.

I think one of the powers that can be raised in this film is the commonality of how the eating disorder unraveled. When there were signs that something was wrong, Melissa was taken to a pediatric gastroenterologist (she was having constipation and stomach problems) who diagnosed her with an eating disorder. The Arvins dismissed this doctor's diagnosis and never went back, partly out of denial and simply because Melissa was not visibly underweight, despite the fact her mood drastically changed.

Eventually Melissa did receive help (against her will at first) and became a revolving door in treatment centers. By this time, her family began to understand the extent of her illness, but after five years, it would be too late for Melissa who died of a heart attack, complicated by her bulimia.

The film, titled "Someday Melissa," taken from journal entries of Melissa, is slated to be finished in June with hopeful theatrical distribution.

One of Melissa's entries that became paramount for this film was:

Someday ...

I’ll eat breakfast.

I’ll keep a job for more than 3 weeks.

I’ll have a boyfriend for more than 10 days.

I’ll love someone.

I’ll travel wherever I want.

I’ll make my family proud.

I’ll make a movie that changes lives.

I'm hopeful that last wish will come true for Melissa.


Eating Alone said...

When I talk to people that have lost loved ones to this thing I cringe inside and almost cry. I'm still working on crying. I hate seeing all those hopes and ambitions just gone.

Kim said...

Ugh, that list is heartbreaking. I made lots of lists like this when trying to motivate myself to get better... Please keep us posted on the movie's release!

sarahlynn said...

That list, I have to say, left me in tears. I lost my Mom this year to her anorexia, and thinking of all of her dreams... hurts. It also reminds me (as if I needed reminding) of my own mortality - of how much I DON'T want these disorders to kill me. My heart goes out to Melissa and her mother. How horribly, terribly sad.

I look forward to watching the film when it is completed.

Tiptoe said...


Sorry I'm late in replying to this. I am so sorry that you lost your mom to anorexia. It is a devastating illness for both the sufferer and the witnesses. I hope the best for you.