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Review: 'Unrest,' A Personal Account Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Friday 22 September 2017


From The New York Times:


Jennifer Brea
Jennifer Brea is the director and subject of
the documentary “Unrest.”
(Credit: Jason Frank Rothenberg/Shella Films.)

Review: ‘Unrest,’ a Personal Account of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

By Daniel M. Gold
September 21, 2017
©2017 The New York Times Company

Nearly 30 years after chronic fatigue syndrome was given its unfortunate name, it’s still not understood or even completely accepted by the medical world: No definitive cause has been identified, nor any consensus treatment. And while it affects an estimated 1 million Americans and 17 million globally, those with the condition are often dismissed as suffering from psychosomatic disorders.

If nothing else, “Unrest,” by Jennifer Brea, demonstrates just how debilitating chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, can be. Ms. Brea, herself a victim, was a well-traveled Ph.D. student at Harvard who fell ill after a high fever in 2011. Along with exhaustion, she experienced loss of muscle control, the inability to speak coherently, pain, and extreme sensitivity to light and noise. Specialists at first concluded that she was dehydrated or stressed; one even suggested a delayed reaction to some childhood trauma that she might not recall.


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