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Finding Melissa’s Next Steps

Posted Jun 28 2010 12:00am

I have not been sleeping for the past few weeks. Like the Duracell bunny, I have been zooming around, crashing every now and then for a couple of days….and then re-charging myself with a burst of creativity and whizzing off again.

I am making some big changes in my life right now. I have suddenly found myself filled with ideas and excitement and action, punctuated with ice cold drafts of doubt, which I seem to be working through. It’s meant that Finding Melissa has taken a back seat, and that I’m going to make some alterations which I’m in the process of figuring out. I’m not great at separating out the parts of my life: I come as one jumbled mess where one part impacts on the other; and my newly discovered gut instinct is currently in control….

So, this post is the one I keep mentioning whenever I am asked about the structure of my blog; and, it’s a little bit of forward planning, so that I know what’s coming next. It’s also an opportunity to see if anyone’s got any better ideas, or can relate to where I’m at…

Back to the Beginning

My eating disorder has been framed by major dentistry. A pretty impressive piece of orthodontic wear provided the perfect excuse to stop eating at 12; and an operation last year marked the point where the bulimia had to end. It also inspired Finding Melissa.

In 2008, my gum collapsed. I’d been trying, for a few years, to figure out how to extract myself from the daily hell of chronic bulimia, and it provided the rather unpleasant spur that I needed. The thought of losing all my teeth filled me with horror; and, in order for them to perform the operation that would prevent my gum from deteriorating, I needed to have a healthy mouth.

In April 2009, with a nicotine and stomach-acid free mouth, I underwent a gum graft. It was a pretty nasty procedure, and they gave me some sedatives to try and take the edge off my awareness and the pain. If you’re at a low weight, you have to be careful of what they give you.

That weekend, I ended up in A and E three times.

It was different to my previous experiences of walking the fine life-death line. There were flashing lights and the heart monitor kept alarming and I had started to see – once the bulimia had stopped – that there were things in life that I wanted to enjoy.

Whilst I lay in resusc., terrified that I might not make it through the night, I made a promise to myself. I gave myself permission to gain weight, and I decided that I was going to give myself a proper attempt at life.

In order to do that, I wanted to transfer the eating disorder away from me and create a space that it could exist within – without me – so that I could try and make myself well. Finding Melissa was the space.

Letting go of the edge

Finding Melissa has transformed – and possibly saved – my life. It has been the buoy that held me up whilst I let go of the eating disorder; the something positive that takes the sting out of how much I have lost. I have, however, been scared, recently, that it might be keeping me back; that I have transferred my eating disorder from a physical identity to an online one, and haven’t quite stepped out of the shadow yet…

My head has been filled with images of letting go – and holding hands – and taking the first tentative steps, without crutches –

I am scared and a little bit sad; but I think it’s time for the structure to change a little, so that I can move on.


I was not a blog reader before Finding Melissa and it was not intended to be my story or chronologically based. It was meant, instead, to be snapshots of an eating disorder; pieces that explored some of my experiences but made independent sense. I didn’t explain this very well at the time and I have confused the situation further by slipping into more of a personal blog.


This means that a lot of the earlier static stuff was overlooked (whilst I dithered around pressing publish); and it is hard – once you’re in – to work out what’s going on. So, over the next few weeks I’m going to re-structure Finding Melissa so that it is a blog within a website; a mixture of static pages that aren’t time bound; and the more chronological ‘story’ bit running along the side.

There are a few subjects I still want to cover which I’ll slot into the webby part; and, as my journey is only just beginning, I’ll be adding to the blog section – it just might feel a bit different to how it has been before.

The Next Door

Finding Melissa has been a huge learning curve for me and has opened my world in so many unexpected ways. It has unleashed a passion for the blogosphere and twitter and online connections that I want to see if I can extend; and has helped me to start finding out who I am. I don’t know what will come next; and I’m scared as hell and as excited as a child – but I want to get the transition right.

Any ideas or feedback on all of this would be hugely welcome as your comments have been a huge part of my journey and helped me to take the next steps in my life.

Melissa xx

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