“Sickness doesn’t terrify me,
Death doesn’t terrify me.
What terrifies me is that you can disappear because someone is telling the wrong story about you.”
In this week’s blog, as we continue to discuss chronic fatigue syndrome, the Dynamic Neural Retraining System would like to highlight Jennifer Brea and her documentary “Unrest”. This movie is a “must see “for both the public and professionals, both in and out of the health care system in terms of awareness. Jennifer Brea is an active Harvard PhD student about to marry the love of her life when suddenly her body starts failing her. After seeing every kind of specialist she was ultimately diagnosed by her neurologist with “conversion disorder.’ We’ve talked about all the different names given to Chronic Fatigue – conversion disorder, while referring to symptoms caused by a distant trauma or stress – (in Jennifer’s case a 105 degree fever – conversion disorder was only one step up from what was once referred to as “hysterical paralysis”. As the invisibility of the sufferers in the misunderstanding of the illness is so poignantly described in the movie as “the disease that medicine forgot”, it is important to note that the auto immune disorder Multiple Sclerosis (MS) was called hysterical paralysis up until MRI/CAT scans became advanced enough to be able to SEE the white plaques on the brain that caused the MS. It was only given a name and proper diagnosis when it was visible to the medical field. In utter frustration Jennifer says in the movie – “this is the story we tell until doctors can see our disease from the outside.”
Often confined by her illness to the private space of her bed, Jen is moved to connect with others around the globe. Utilizing Skype and social media, she unlocks a forgotten community with intimate portraits of four other families suffering similarly. Hoping to shed light on her strange symptoms, Jennifer grabs a camera and films the darkest moments unfolding before her eyes as she is derailed by her chronic and painful symptoms. We watch as her loyal husband lovingly tends her while coping with his own feelings and frustrations the disease puts on their relationship and their ability to simply share the same space.
Jennifer Brea’s brilliantly candid portrayal demands us to rethink the stigma around an illness that affects millions of people worldwide and shed light on those that have been ignored, dismissed and even removed from their homes due to misdiagnosis and mal assumptions. Jennifer gave the highest-rated talk at the 2016 TED Summit in Banff, Canada, the first ever TED Talk about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Encephalopathy (M.E.). It launched in January 2017 and has been viewed more that 1 million times and translated into more than 25 languages. Unrest is a vulnerable and eloquent personal documentary that is sure to hit closer to home than many could imagine and is available on Netflix now.
Hopefully this moving documentary will help to spread much needed awareness and attention. As this is also the wish at the Dynamic Neural Retraining System, please check out the movie and spread widely! If you, or anyone you know suffer with symptoms of chronic fatigue/ME or any other mysterious chronic illnesses – consider learning more about the limbic system connection and check out DNRS at www.retraingthebrain.com. Next week we will be highlighting a client who suffered from CFS and has found her way back to health and wellness after reaching out to DNRS all the way from the Philippines!
“You are not alone, your suffering has not been in vain, and you can live the life that you dreamed of, even if you stopped dreaming a long time ago.” – Annie Hopper – Wired for Healing