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Netflix "Afflicted" - ME included

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Kalliope, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    I've just finished watching the series. I can see why Jamison is so upset.

    The whole focus of the series was on:

    a) people spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on wacky alternative therapies
    b) digging into their past and making it seem they all had mental health problems or had traumas or stresses that may be the cause of their illness
    c) using a few doctors, particularly a psychiatrist called Richard Friedman, who think all these illnesses are psychosomatic over and over again talking to camera and looking serious and professional while showing pictures of the patients, including Jamison, even though those doctors had never met him.

    As far as ME is concerned, Jamison came across really well as a sane, very sick young man. Yet the main thing they focused on from his visit from the doctor was that the doctor didn't think it was ME. With no explanation given. The implication between the lines of the way the documentary makers portrayed him was it's psychosomatic. That is such a cruel trick to play on Jamison. I feel so sad for him that he was used in this way.
     
  2. Joh

    Joh Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  3. wdb

    wdb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    A real gem at the beginning of episode 3

    Dr: I've had a few patients who became so identified with their illness they really weren't willing to be cured.
     
  4. strategist

    strategist Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    "These bastards don't want to get better" comes to mind.

    Probably a doctor that thinks he knows how to cure patients and doesn't realize it's not working.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
  5. JaimeS

    JaimeS Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I saw the first episode and I'm beyond unimpressed -- I'm infuriated. I've written about it, but I don't want to make people who participated feel even worse, so I'm holding off.
     
  6. Joh

    Joh Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Haven't watched it (no Netflix and trial month already used). Read that Jamison's sister was filmed by the Netflix team when she went to the Stanford Symposium on ME last year – was it included or any other ME specialist (Jarred Younger)?
     
    Inara, adambeyoncelowe and Anna like this.
  7. MsUnderstood

    MsUnderstood Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    https://www.dailydot.com/upstream/afflicted-series-netflix/

    Oh dear! With articles like the above, viewers will have their opinions influenced before they even watch the docu-series. A few excerpts:
    • In figuring out what’s psychosomatic and what isn’t, . . .
    • Jamison, suffering from myalgic encephalomyelitis, remains bed-ridden and in constant pain in every part of his body. Yet, it is his parents that bring up hypochondria.
    • In fact, the relationships and each of the patients’ loved ones’ willingness to endure alongside them is notable, even with inconsistencies and new determinations that seem preposterous.
    • The show mostly neglects external factors, such as prior stresses and traumas.
    • . . . there’s the consistent surprise at new (and usually questionable and opportunistic) diagnoses.
     
  8. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    From looking at responses to this, it seems to be another example of how quackery doesn't just take time, money and effort away from patients, but it also encourages scorn from others. It's not fair, but it's another reason that it's best to try to encourage caution and rigour in the way we assess various claims about treatments and causes of ill-health.

    If the producers failed to take the time to understand and explain why it is that people can fall victims to quackery, that seems unfair on the patients involved. There are a lot of social pressures for people to be heroically pursuing some understanding and treatment for their health problems. Accepting that we don't know is often viewed as 'giving up', and another reason to view sick people with scorn.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
  9. Minnie

    Minnie Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I can’t judge AFFLICTED as have not seen myself. I don’t have Netflix. But the responses I am seeing are disturbing. Awful if Jamieson feels misrepresented by the way the documentary evolved. Poor guy. He must feel betrayed. I truly hate to see ME mixed up in this kind of film series, it feels like it doesn’t belong.
     
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  10. Joh

    Joh Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Jamison posted the timecodes he's in, if people would like to just watch these parts:

     
  11. Lily Valley

    Lily Valley Established Member

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    I totally agree. I’ve seen all episodes, and even Jameson’s md is a ‘quacker’ (an md that works with integrative and functional medicine. That was the case with most of the experts), and that doesn’t look good at all. And I’ve seen a lot of people get hypocondric when they go to alternative terapeut’s that trigger them. And I’m not against alternative therapies, it has helped me, but it doesn’t cure and it can also do harm. Lisa Nagy was the worst of the ‘experts’ portrayed I think, she scared a woman with mcs to do expensive treatment or else she would be so much sicker. And this woman was already financially and mental drained.

    And I think it’s wrong to say that only Jamisons story don’t fit in the series, because all the other people are really sick, mcs for example are common among patients with ME. All of them deserves to be heard but not in this way. This is like a freak show, and some parts even looks like it’s not real, it’s like some parts are fake documentary, it looks arranged in some ways, but that is just my feeling.
     
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  12. wdb

    wdb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Wow by episode 6 they really sink to a new low, this is narrated by doctors and partners over a sequence ending on a still of the featured participants including Jamison.

    I wonder, "Is he imagining this to the point that it becomes real?"
    Is this in her head? Is it psychosomatic?
    There is emotional and psychological components.
    Some of it's in her mind, I guess.

    I do think there is a mind-body connection.
    Illness is a dysfunction in the mind.
    I view the distinction between the brain...
    the body and the mind as artificial boundaries.
    They're seamlessly connected to each other.
    Patients who have emotional issues,
    that can translate physically.
    And we find that to be true especially for chronic illnesses.
    Your brain is capable of producing physical,
    real physical alterations by itself.
    The notion of something being all in your head is interesting.
    It's no less real than in the body.
     
  13. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  14. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    post #21 on this thread.

    I was a little take aback when I went on Twitter to see a couple of people had linked or copied this post of mine and recommended it as a 'review' of the series. Perfectly happy that they did so, just caught by surprise.
     
  15. Minnie

    Minnie Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I would personally ask someone if they were okay with anything they wrote on here being ‘reframed’ and tweeted. Although this is a public forum, I think is good protocol to ask someone if they are okay with their comments being platformed elsewhere.
     
  16. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The people who took part in this seem to have been "used" to demonstrate someones flaky ideas
     
  17. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Even with just the term 'mcs' _ I don't know how useful that is. I seem to respond badly to some soaps and washing powders, and lots of scents give me a head-ache now, but in the popular imagination the 'MCS' term seems really associated with patients following advice from dodgy sources or claiming to be certain that they cannot be near chemicals that they do not seem to respond to under blinded conditions. It can be viewed similarly to that 'electro-sensitivity' one.

    Then there's all the dodgy tests for 'Lyme' that some alternative doctors try to sell... for people looking for explanations for their ill-health there's so much quackery around that can take advantage of them. IMO one of the serious problems with mainstream quackery like the PACE trial is that it can end up driving people to 'alternative' quackery.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  18. wdb

    wdb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Just re-watching that bit I'm not certain the doctor is questioning the ME diagnosis, I think when he refers to ME he means the literal translation of inflammation in the brain rather than the illness defined as ME/CFS.

    This is the transcript if anyone else can help make sense of it.

    So, the issues that we want to make sure we deal with going forward,
    okay, myalgic encephalomyelitis.
    The problem with that name is that it's just not accurate.
    I don't know what your illness is.
    What does Jamison have? I don't know what Jamison has.
    There are a subset of patients who did have inflammation in the brain.
    But the vast majority of people with chronic fatigue don't.
    And they're just as sick.
    You have an illness with a lousy name, what can I say?
     
  19. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks @wdb, I stand corrected. It shows how even someone like me who understands the pitfalls and problems of both names ME and CFS can get the wrong end of the stick in a situation like this. And I was summarising what I remembered after watching the whole series in 2 days. There was a lot to take in, and a lot to be pissed off about. :(
     
  20. Lily Valley

    Lily Valley Established Member

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    Well, I wish it wouldn’t be so misused, because for me it’s a painful reality to be so sensitive to perfumes and chemicals, and the Primer for ME explains it like this:
    “Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). A number of patients with ME/CFS also have MCS. Rather than an allergic response, their sensitivity is to low levels of specific odors or chemicals, which cause an ex- acerbation of symptoms. For example, perfumes, cigarette smoke, cleaning products, paint, glue and many other odors may cause problems. These pa- tients may need advice on how to avoid the envi- ronmental chemicals which trigger symptoms.84 Patients with multiple food sensitivities who avoid food groups may need dietary counselling to rotate their foods to avoid malnutrition.”

    I totally agree with you about tests, it really scares people up, and I think it can trigger phobia, like germophobia. But it’s the same with common allergies, a person can get very scared for common allergens (that are measurable) if they have the slightest predisposition to be phobic.
     

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