Time for Unrest: Why patients With ME Are Demanding Justice

Jen Unrest

 

By Nathalie Wright in The Independent.

 

“I feel seen for the first time!” exalts one viewer. “I feel vindicated. I finally understand what’s wrong with me, I think I’ve had this all my life,” says another. A doctor admits, “I feel so ashamed.”

The film in question is Unrest, a documentary directed by and featuring Jennifer Brea, a former Harvard PHD student who, after developing the disease ME, started filming her experience. For those not directly affected by the illness, their go-to reference may be one of the many stereotypes that have proliferated in the British media: ME is “yuppie flu”; it’s an illness of lazy people or type-A personalities, malingerers, hysterical women, militant activists, scroungers, even people who are “a bit tired” and “don’t feel like going to work today” (according to a Ricky Gervais standup routine). For the first time, a major documentary is speaking back to decades of misinformation and showing what often doctors don’t even see: the daily life of sufferers, of whom there are about 260,000 in the UK.

 

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