It has been over a month since the 2012 International OCD Foundation Conference, but one particular presentation I attended still easily brings tears to my eyes. In a session titled “OCD in the Media: The Opportunities and the Challenges,” John Tessitore discussed and presented the documentary film that he wrote, directed, and edited during his senior year at Fairfield University: Heroes Get Remembered but Legends Never Die.
I highly recommend watching this tribute to the filmmaker’s lifelong friend, John Cleaver Kelly, who ended his own life a week before his 25th birthday. He suffered from severe OCD centered around hyper-responsibility, and so many of his friends said they had no idea of the extent of his pain. He hid it well. John Kelly’s parents attended this session, and I found their strength and compassion inspirational.
This film has many sides to it. There are interviews with John’s close friends and his loving and supportive parents, and from these we get to know this amazing young man. We are privy to John’s thoughts and feelings about his OCD through excerpts taken from his many journal entries. What affected me the most were all the clips of John: happy, smiling, and full of life. The way he was when OCD loosened its grip. The way he should have always been. The way he should still be.
Though he fought courageously against the tyrant who is OCD, he ultimately lost the battle. If you think OCD is a cute, quirky, trendy disorder, please watch this film. And we all need to keep fighting against OCD however we can, so that no more movies like this will have to be made.