Jen Brea’s movie, Unrest, is bringing attention to the struggles that people with ME/CFS face. This award-winning film is available on Netflix, Amazon, and your local PBS station, and if you haven’t seen it yet, block out some time to take a look. Jen turns an unflinching camera on her life and the lives of others to show the devastating effects of this disease. Her husband, Omar Wasow, also takes a turn in the spotlight, showing what life is like for caregivers.
Unrest highlights other patient journeys as well along with the innovative ways that those with ME/CFS have had to cope, advocate and develop community within the limits of this complex and debilitating disease. This film is a harbinger in a movement where progress has been incredibly slow but momentum has been steadily building. To quote Jen Brea: “To fight stigma and to force the recognition from the health system, we need a movement for access to treatment, care and research. The HIV/AIDS movement allowed extraordinary advancements in the space of a decade. That’s what we need here. It is about reclaiming our bodies and our experience; having a sense of pride in ourselves an in each other.”
Our February Education meeting involved a screening of this film for Salt Lake City locals followed by a panel discussion. Kristie and Mark Miller and Jessica and Jay Turner had heartfelt answers to some hard questions. They discussed the following:
- What does the success of Unrest mean to you personally?
- What scenes stood out for you? For example, what scenes surprised you? Or what scene made you say, “That’s exactly what it’s like”?
- What are your coping mechanisms as a couple?
- What kinds of mainstream or even crazy things have you tried to improve your health?
- Did you ask friends and family to watch the movie? If they watched it, what were their reactions?
- What personal message would you like to give to Jen Brea about this movie?
The panel also took questions from the in-person and livestream audience. If you’d like to hear the discussion, you can access the recorded session at the BHC YouTube page.