Netflix's Afflicted - Helpful or Harmful?


Well-Known Member
I have now watched the first four (of seven) episodes of Netflix's Afflicted which highlight a half dozen or so mysterious illnesses. ME/CFS is one of them. It has been so hard to watch that I don't know if I can finish the series.

Here is a link to Jennifer Brea's Twitter feed about it. I am choosing not to link to the Netflix series which you can easily find by going to Netflix.

I think the pre-sick me would have thought all of these people were somewhere between psychosomatic and crazy. Now I live in a world where I don't have the right to judge anyone.

So far, the series does get across the point that it was only because these people were ignored by conventional medicine that they turned to every form of alternative medicine. It also gets across how exhausting it is on the caregivers. I would say you feel varying degrees of sympathy for all of the people highlighted. They are all clearly suffering.

I will now comment on Jamison directly. I have followed Jamison and so I know his backstory. I know his struggles. I know that he has worked hard and has had periods of doing better and then getting worse. None of that comes across. The narrative and editing is such that all you get is that he had a physical trauma in the form of a car accident that explains some of his illness but not even really most of it. His doctor straight out says he does not have M.E. Jamison is so confused by this.

I hate to say this because I know Jamison put himself out there, but I feel that this series has done more harm than good for ME/CFS. Nothing in this documentary said these people have a real physical illness. In fact, I felt they put forth mental illness as a reason these people are so sick more than any medically explained reasons. It simply showed that they suffer.

If I was not sick and I did not know someone who was sick with a chronic unexplained illness or if I was a doctor who only wanted to deal with things that are already proven, this would only make me think ME/CFS was psychosomatic.

Still, I want to thank Jamison for putting himself out there. I know it was not easy. I don't know how he feels about how he was portrayed or how he feels about the people in the rest of the series. For him, I wish him the best and that he was able to get some relief.

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