I will not be giving any part of the film, Unrest, away below, I’m just sharing my experience.
I don’t honestly even know what direction to come at this from as I’m still a bit raw. Last Friday I went to see Unrest…in a theatre. Unrest is an award-winning film about a lady, Jennifer Brea, who came down with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and her subsequent experiences. I’ve not been to the theatre since CFS decided to make me sensitive to seemingly life itself. Thank you to a fellow spoonie’s list she shared with me on social media I was very well prepared with ear plugs, sunglasses, pain relief…you name it. I also had a little pep talk with myself that went a little like this: it’s okay if you are too exhausted to go in, it’s okay if you are too exhausted to stay, it’s okay to close your eyes when the motion sets off your vestibular issues, it’s okay to put the ear plugs in if it’s too loud and disorienting, it’s okay to cry in public…just try not to distract other moviegoers by sobbing (this did happen for about a millisecond but I reeled it back in), it’s okay to put your feet up on your seat to keep the blood from pooling and making you feel worse, it’s okay if you don’t last through the entire film and decide to order it on iTunes to watch at home, and finally this is so freaking exciting! Exciting because finally I will see others who get it, who understand, who can relate and I will feel…gosh I didn’t really know how I was going to feel but I was scared and excited. Scared that my body would fail me when I needed it to ‘adult’ the most and the repercussions in days following and excited to just do a normal person thing and find out what Jennifer Brea and so many others had to say.
As we arrived I was okay (it’d been a long car ride to just get there) so that was a relief, I believe this was adrenaline induced, but that becomes our second nature so it’s hard to tell at times. I popped a chamomile tea bag in my honey-infused water bottle and hid the bottle in my purse, trying to give my central nervous system and energy levels a little salve as I pursued this little adventure. We were the first to arrive (as an introvert this was extremely wonderful) and had the pick of seats. I chose to sit in the back so I could make a quick exit if need be. Soon others arrived and they all sat in the back too…I’m assuming most had the same thought, easy exit and the least stairs.
The previews, intending to be eye catching, I suppose, had me a little concerned. I couldn’t watch them without feeling like the room was about to spin, so I just closed my eyes, and that was okay. It was a little loud, okay – a lot loud, but it passed quickly. I did start to shake at this point (my onset of extreme fatigue warning light) and the pain started in on my legs but I wasn’t about to give up. And then the movie started and it was dark and quiet, and peacefulness fell over my body. Her voice was soothing and informative and validating and encouraging and so freaking relatable. I felt like she was telling my story. The pain in my body kept moving and consequently I kept shifting around but I wasn’t about to give up. I felt like I was breathing in every word. Like the words were breathing life back into my soul. Like those of us with CFS have a chance, like there’s hope, like the answers are right at the fingertips of some of the most brilliant minds in the world. For the first time since I got sick I felt like there’s chance I will be better someday.
My fear of crying from beginning to end, which if I was alone I would have cried until all my tears were gone, did not come true and while I did cry three times I was able to bite my lip and hold back the tears. The three times were more of escaped sobs from things she said that honestly touched pain deep inside of me that even I don’t allow myself to feel on a day to day basis. Words that rolled off her tongue so easily but tore right through my heart and into my soul. It wasn’t all sad though, I laughed too, as well as experienced about a million other emotions.
I’m not going to say it was easy physically or emotionally, it wasn’t and I’m still recovering five days later and probably have a while to go, but I am going to say it was worth it. It gave me hope; it refreshed my tired soul and more than anything made me feel validated. You don’t really realize how it makes you feel to be told by doctor after doctor that they can’t help you, you don’t really know what that does to you until you see and hear of so many others, millions, being told the same thing, and I cannot begin to articulate how healing the experience was, because I simply cannot put it into words. And when I say healing, I don’t mean of this illness, but healing for my aching heart, healing for my tired soul.
If you were unable to get out to see Unrest here is an LA Times review, a NY Times review and here is the link to Unrest; you can watch a trailer or preorder on iTunes. If you have any chronic illness, or if you have struggled or watched someone struggle this will be so relatable. If you have any questions or you went to see it I’d love to hear your thoughts below.
The Unrest image is property of Unrest films and is provided for informational purposes only.
Not a lot of energy for painting lately but here are a few. You are always welcome to join the watercolor group World Watercolor Group, it doesn’t matter what skill level you are at and he provides monthly prompts but you can paint whatever you’d like.