Today, like any other day, I’ve curled up in the sofa surrounded by dogs, and had a little flick through Netflix. I’m, like many people, the kind of person who is constantly adding to their list of things to one day watch. And of course, today is no different.
So I am perusing through and happen to spot a new Netflix original documentary series titled ‘Afflicted’. It follows various people who are battling with different invisible chronic health issues and all that comes along with them. The first was a lady suffering with EHS, electromagnetic hypersensitivity. This is where she struggles with pain caused by electromagnetic currents that are given off by things such as mobile phones, power lines and WiFi. We begin to learn about the battle she faces and the lack of recognition this health issue receives. We only gather a brief understanding of her fight before moving onto the next person however it was very intriguing all the same.
I thought to myself, well this is going to be a really interesting docu-series. I’m going to really enjoy this.
And then we met the next individual being followed.
This is a man who three years ago was fit, healthy and happy. But then he started getting tired. He started getting weak and forgetful. He started facing tougher and tougher symptoms of an illness that he and many professionals couldn’t understand. He became bed bound, unable to move, to speak, to wash or eat by himself. And then he was diagnosed with M.E.
As soon as his diagnoses was ‘revealed’ I burst into tears. It was like a train of fear had just hit me straight on. And I was devastated. Terrified. Horrified…
Is this what could happen to me? Is this what I could become?
As some people are aware I have been suffering with ME for a little over 2 years. I was only formally diagnosed earlier this year however they believe I may have been suffering with this illness for much longer. And as time has moved on, this illness has progressed, become much harder to live with, put much more strain on my everyday life and become even more debilitating. I used to be able to memories pages and pages of scripts, enjoy hours of creating and handle all night rehearsals with ease. I used to love to perform. But now, my memory is fuzzy at he best of times. I forget names and struggle to remember simple things. And I’m so exhausted all, the, time. I push myself to get up and go out to work for a couple of hours but then find myself immediately needing to fall back into bed and sleep for several hours just to be able to function. I’m no longer adventurous, and creative, and energetic. I’m lethargic, forgetful and sad. And seeing this man, diagnosed with the same illness as me, and how badly it has ravaged his entire life, really hit me hard.
Is this what I will become?
I simply don’t know how to face this prospect. I don’t know how to handle this possibility. I don’t know how to stop my mind from diving into these dark corners of my fears and becoming completely overwhelmed.
So I turned the documentary off.
Maybe it would be good for me to watch through this series, as difficult as it may be, and try to understand and learn from what this poor man is facing. To try and get my head around what could possibly happen to me if things continue to deteriorate. But I just can’t bring myself to do it. At least not right now. I’m not mentally prepared to do that. I already question myself and wether or not I am just a burden to those around me. I don’t think I can watch this documentary and face the possibility that this is only the beginning of what’s to come. Seeing so vividly how this horrible illness can destroy someone’s life, let alone the battles they have to face trying to convince those around them that they are not just being ‘lazy’!. Maybe one day I will be able to watch this series. But I guess today just isn’t that day.
Instead, I think for now I’ll head back to my F.R.I.E.N.D.S re runs. Back to my happy place.