PANIC OVER!!!! I’m going to be covering #Afflicted and that whole shit storm
— charlie (@chaarlesx) August 21, 2018
*As a chronic illness sufferer I have decided to not watch the series until I am in a position where I feel happy and strong enough to watch ‘Afflicted’. As the series has been widely discredited by those within the spoonie community I have chosen to share the resonating reaction*
The docuseries was expected to use screens all over the world as windows into the lives of people whose curtains are nearly always pulled shut. Instead of sharing the stories of sufferers their diagnoses were twisted to fit the stigma that not many people have the energy left to fight. That’s why the series was meant to do so much but instead has damaged so much more.
I didn’t watch #Afflicted but today a company who have treated my disability appallingly misheard ME as MS and suddenly the CEO called to apologise because now to them I have a ‘real’ illness I guess not a made up one like on Netflix. Stigma matters
— Gherkinette (@gherkinette) August 22, 2018
However, producers of the series were seemingly more focused on the narrative of framing the individuals as eccentric or suffering from Munchausen syndrome.
If nothing else, #Afflicted drives home that the destigmatization of “mental” illness and “physical” chronic illness are inexorably linked. The dismissal of autoimmune/allergic/neurological conditions is possible in part BECAUSE it’s socially acceptable to call people “crazy”
— Jennifer Brea (@jenbrea) 17 August 2018
This person is a healthcare professional.
THIS IS WHY #Afflicted DOES DIRECT HARM TO REAL PATIENTS. It reinforces the harmful and false stereotypes of people with chronic illness.
They’re in the EMERGENCY ROOM.
People are going to straight up die because of people like this. pic.twitter.com/g6DokSFtet
— Julie Atwood (@jmatwood) 17 August 2018
The label of a diagnosis is sometimes the only level of legitimacy that a chronic illness sufferer has. Yet ‘Afflicted’ stripped the definition behind these diagnoses and has seemingly framed them with a commentary that is ensured to drive streamers and not educate viewers.
Conventional medicine has not yet found a one size fits all treatment for the despairingly complex illnesses featured. Diverse symptoms and conditions that span over various departments within the health system can make management near impossible.
The use of dubious therapies by patients reflects their desperation and their status as outcasts in the normal medical system. We don’t generally label patients with uncontroversial but devastating conditions as crazy for trying dubious treatments in desperation.
— Anton Mayer (@MECFSNews) August 21, 2018
I wonder how stereotypes/lies like that show are going to effect people’s ability to get services – insurance co.’s often ignores doctors who say something is medically necessary for living a full life if they don’t think it’s important. (i.e. chronic illness not being “Real”)
— Laura Reeve (@LauraReeve12) August 22, 2018
Due to the backlash many chronic illness sufferers are choosing to turn off the TV and pray that their friends, family, employers and strangers do the same.
If you’d like to read my own journey with chronic illness, specifically M.E., then click here.