Yesterday I went to go see a local screening of Unrest, today I would like to share my thoughts on it. I would have done this yesterday, but I crashed after seeing it. Crying for an hour and half will do that to you.
If you don't know what Unrest is - it's a documentary made by American M.E sufferer Jennifer Brea. She shares her story, and that of many others that she's spoken with. She is brutally honest and doesn't hide anything throughout the documentary. You see her curled up in a ball, screaming in pain, on her front porch. You see her in the doctors office getting poked and prodded. You see her fight and protest and make a stand. You see her laugh with her friends. You see her smile light up the faces of those around her. And you see the quiet moments she takes for herself. You see it all. This film shows what life with M.E is really like, we all live like this on a daily basis but it's just that no one sees it.
So yes I cried all the way through, it's heart wrenching. But it should be. They weren't happy tears but somehow it was liberating. It was a very odd experience, surreal in many ways. Sitting in a public place, with a bunch of strangers all sharing some common ground, with tears streaming down my face. I'm glad it was dark in there - the ugly crying face was out in full force. Jen described symptoms I live with every day, she voiced fears that circle around my own head. At one point she was crying to her husband saying "I can't be anything to anyone like this" and oh man I was a goner. Not only does the documentary clear up stigmas attached to the physical side of the illness, it showcases the mental side of it too. She let us in. You could feel every person in there, sitting in the dark, bonding - even though we'd never spoken a word to each other. At the end of the screening there was a quick Q&A and people shared their stories and we all cried for each other. It was cleansing in a way.
I highly doubt anyone that was involved in the making of the film, or the showing of the Stirling screening will see this blog post. But just in case - I'd like to thank you. There was something so validating about seeing M.E represented on the big screen, smack bang in front of your face. It was there. And so were we. And it made a difference.
If you weren't able to make it to a screening, or you didn't know about it until now - its available for purchase via iTunes here. I know it seems expensive at over a tenner, but I can assure you it is worth it. If you're a fellow sufferer - watch it. In equal measure it's like a smack in the face, as well as a gentle hug that tells you that you matter. If you have a friend, family member, or loved one with M.E - watch it. It will tell you things that I can't. It will show you things that I can't. If you're one of the people that talk openly and publicly about how M.E isn't actually real (Ricky Gervais I'm looking at you) - watch it. I guarantee you will change your mind.
Thank you Jen for putting yourself out there like that. You've changed the world by doing so. You're making waves. I've seen mainstream publications talking about the film today, and I never thought I'd see M.E in Cosmo. You've made an impact. You've made a massive difference to the lives of others all around the world sharing in your experience. We hear you.