Originally published on The Mighty
Jennifer Brea had been bedbound due to chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) for a few weeks when she first picked up her iPhone and started filming herself. A lifelong writer and reader who could no longer do either, Brea turned to her “video diary” as an outlet for her fear and grief.
But during a medical appointment, Brea realized her filmmaking could have a different kind of power. The doctor didn’t seem to be paying much attention while Brea explained that she collapsed on the floor one night and was too weak to call out. So, she took out her phone and showed him a video of what happened. The doctor “turned white, said ‘Oh my gosh, you need an MRI, you need a spinal tap’ and was suddenly mobilizing,” Brea told The Mighty.
“It made me realize that for whatever reason, in this experience, words fail. And there is a certain kind of power the visual image has, especially if it could be used to bring people into those spaces they never see, into our homes and bedrooms which is where we live when we’re not well enough to be in the outside world,” Brea said. “That’s when I realized maybe this could really change things.”