Curled up in bed, my head resting on his shoulder I felt a single tear flow down my cheek. The glow of the laptop screen lit up my face as he looked down, aware my breathing pattern had changed. I caught his eye and the wall holding back the flood burst, the tears now streaming, messy and unrestrained as they tracked their way down to my chin.
The screen in front of us gave no clues of what could be wrong. But without a word, he understood. This wasn’t just a film, this was my life. An eerie comparison, the first time I’ve visually experienced someone going through the same pain as my own. The music echoed through my mind, haunting my thoughts as I cried for all those who have suffered.
I’ve been putting off watching Unrest for fear of how it would affect me. I’ve never even spoken to another sufferer, let alone watched a full length film documenting another’s experience with the disease. I was right to be afraid. It hurt. It hurt far deeper than I could have imagined. Even now, re-living it in writing causes my breathing to stutter, my eyes to cloud over. It’s been a couple of days since we watched it. But the images won’t leave my mind. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is REAL. Even though I already knew this, there is something so very final about seeing it portrayed so bluntly, so accurately, in film.
Watching Unrest has left me feeling infinitely more grateful for the fullness of life that I am able to live despite this illness. In the scheme of things, my symptoms are only mild and have been steadily improving ever since I was diagnosed and able to manage my life appropriately. Watching Unrest left me mourning for the life that I could have had, if I had not fallen ill. Dreaming of the plans I used to have that (at least for now) have been placed on the back burner, simmering quietly until I dare to return to them. But most of all watching Unrest showed me the scale of the illness. The sheer number of victims it has claimed and how thoroughly it has ruined their lives. And yet, a lot remain hopeful. Positive. At times, even grateful for what they have learnt through their years of being sick. It drove a knife straight into my heart, unleashing all kinds of emotions all at once.
If you haven’t seen Unrest, I urge you to watch it. If you suffer from a chronic illness I highly recommend a large box of tissues, a cuddly blanket and if possible a hand to hold. If you don’t have a chronic illness, then watch it for me, watch it for all of those who suffer in silence. We are the #millionsmissing
Unrest is available on tonnes of different platforms including iTunes, Vimeo, DVD/BluRay, Netflix and a few others. Visit the website to find out more about this amazing film and the team behind it and watch the trailer here.
Image Source: https://www.unrest.film/