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Netflix TV TV Reviews

‘Afflicted’ | Netflix Original Series Review Not feeling too good

Afflicted Netflix Series Review

Afflicted is an extraordinarily bleak seven-part Netflix Original documentary series created by Dan Partland. It follows individuals with severe, chronic illnesses who seek out increasingly bizarre and controversial treatments in the hopes of living a normal life.

Featuring personal accounts from those afflicted interspersed with statements from various medical professionals, almost all of whom simply throw up their hands and say, “You know what, this is news to me,” a recurring theme in Afflicted is whether or not these illnesses are even real. Many have been self-diagnosed using Google after the described symptoms puzzled doctors. Are they psychosomatic? Psychological?

It’s easy to be sceptical when you meet Carmen, whose affliction is (self-diagnosed) EHS – electromagnetic hypersensitivity. When she first arrives, she lays down the ground rules with the production team, explaining that they need to leave their phones in the car, remove their smart watches, and stand further away from the telephone lines. When she needs to send a long letter, she whips out an old-fashioned manual typewriter. And when she needs to visit the grocery store she calls in advance, asking the staff to bring what she wants to the customer service desk, so she can sprint in and out again without overexposing herself to the store’s fluorescent lighting.

It’s difficult to feel much sympathy for Carmen, as she strikes a faintly ridiculous figure. Even in conversation with her husband, while describing how she can’t stand near the stove too long, she quite clearly prompts him heavily. He mostly just stands there looking confused. This, of course, is entirely the point of Afflicted; how are you supposed to feel about an invisible affliction with nebulous symptoms that doctors don’t understand? Cynicism is easy and, I must admit, tempting. It’s even more tempting when it comes to Jamison, who has been in bed 24 hours a day for two years, having been initially diagnosed with ME – Myalgic Encephalomyelitis – and gradually deteriorated to the point that now any physical movement, including speech, causes him pain.

Through a Bluetooth speaker connected to his phone, Jamison explains that while he used to be fit and active, now he’s completely bedbound. (While he’s explaining this he wears earplugs, because his own digitised voice emanating from the speaker hurts him too.) His caregiver says she’s never seen anything like it. And his parents are the first to bring up the word “hypochondria.”

Sometimes, hypochondria seems unlikely simply because the illness is so esoteric that it’s difficult to imagine who might come up with it. Bekah, a self-proclaimed psychic witch with face tattoos, lives in a van with her boyfriend, Jesse, because of chronic mold sensitivity. This seems reasonable enough to me; she’s violently allergic to even tiny amounts of mold in buildings or houses, forcing her to carry around a cooler full of medication that might make her go blind or become emotionally unstable. But then she steps out of the van in the middle of the desert, miles from anywhere, and says, “Something smells moldy.” Afflicted intentionally does this; juxtaposes the believable with the utterly ridiculous, the sincere accounts of spouses and significant others with doctors who you can just tell are stifling a scoff.

The fact remains, though, that whether these people are victims of misunderstood illnesses or their own minds, they’re undeniably suffering. No plea for attention could possibly be this committed, not when the afflicted will go to such lengths; experimental blood transfusions, tours through electromagnetic ghost towns – even the commitment required to remain in bed for two years would be unfeasible for someone who wasn’t truly experiencing something, even if it wasn’t what they thought or claimed they were experiencing. And it’s even worse for someone like Star, who has received about twelve diagnoses for various autoimmune disorders, but is still largely laughed at and dismissed because she’s a good-looking, otherwise fit and healthy woman.

In that sense, then, Afflicted is an important and powerful series, drawing attention not necessarily to these specific illnesses, but to the idea of being at the mercy of a malignancy that is largely invisible and thoroughly misunderstood. It almost doesn’t matter what the specifics of the affliction are, or even if there’s an affliction at all. The series encourages you not to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, but to spend a day in someone else’s body; the metaphor, though, remains just as powerful.

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102 comments on “‘Afflicted’ | Netflix Original Series Review Not feeling too good

  1. Nick Dinnerstein

    Hi, Jonathon. This is Nick, Bekah’s brother. I’ve only just watched the first episode of the Netflix series, so I’m not as caught up as you are. Thanks for taking the time to watch it and write about it. One thing that I wanted to offer my perspective on was the following from your review:

    But then she steps out of the van in the middle of the desert, miles from anywhere, and says, “Something smells moldy.”

    I understand the skepticism (whether it’s yours or the painted narrative of the series), but there are some key facts that create a fuller picture of why that was not at all absurd. If you’d like a more detailed or more accurate (compared to what “made the cut”) explaination of what happened, feel free to send me an email.

    • Jonathon Wilson

      Hi, thanks for getting in touch.

      I’d absolutely like to hear more. You can reach me at jonathon@readysteadycut.com.

    • I empathize w Bekah. I was exposed to Stachybotrys for 3 yrs consequently, I am hypervigilant w mold and many other allergens like her. My immune system is wrecked from mold poisoning. We are just trying to survive.

      • I was exposed to Stachy too. It’s been a year and I’m still sick thanks to being in the 24% of the population with the HLA-DR gene where your body doesn’t identify/eliminate biotoxins..

      • Lynda Brown

        Have you been tested for CIRS? There’s a Dr Shoemaker protocol to help patients get better.. I know what your going through as I am battling this too. Would you be up for keeping in touch with each other?

      • Please stay away from Shoemaker. There is no basis for his mold-related or other diagnoses, aside from extremely poorly conducted research which is unpublished due to the extreme problems with his methodology. Basically he compared HLA types of his (North American) mold patients with world-wide prevalence of HLA types. This is completely inappropriate, as HLA types are closely connected to geographic/ethnic origins, and different rates simply reflected that he was treating patients with primarily Caucasian backgrounds. If his data were to be believed, something like 80% of the population of the US is extremely sensitive and vulnerable to a few different conditions.

        I’m not doubting people’s symptoms or even that mold may be contributing to them. But Shoemaker is exactly the sort of quack which is making his own patients look crazy by association.

    • There is a movie called Brain on Fire that is based on a true story. I believe this movie should be watched by everyone both a part of the show or just watching. People like Bekah, Pilar, Star, Jamison, and so many more are not crazy. As our world continues to evolve, so do we. Do you think in the last 100 years there wasn’t an illness that people scoffed at and said your crazy? Take AIDS for example, people though it was an airborne illness that would end the world, but they were wrong. In my case I had unbearable stomach cramps, yet I stayed persistent and went doctor to doctor until someone believed me. Finally, a doctor sent me for test and discovered my gall bladder did not work. Any regular test they did missed this problem. It only takes one person to make a difference. ONE! So stay persistent, don’t give up, you all will find answers!

      • Jewel,
        I respect your reply and the way you phrased your sentences to not come across as condescending but informative and positive.

        There are so many illnesses, diseases, and chronic pain that we (society/scientist) haven’t diagnosed yet. Our youth, my 7 year old son, your/other youth children, will help to provide some kind of answer to the evolution’ we progress through. Again, thank you for your recommendation and positive response! I hope you continue to reply to many posts with responses like I read today!

    • Hope Boyden

      I have so many questions about Bekah and her DX (diagnoses). I have severe allergic reaction to molds in which I go into anaphylaxis. Just t a minute amount of mold, I can smell too. What molds is she allergic too? What diagnostic tests have been done? Has she had an allergy panel done? I have so many questions.

      • Eiden Maklaen

        Hope – such a beautiful name and inspiration you must embody 🙂

        The following two easy blood tests MUST be LabCorp or a major hospital :
        HLA DR for disease association and MTHFR

        Most, if not all, of the “participants” in this rude and insensitive docuseries as part of such a desperate soul wrenching call for help from humanity are deficient of some alleles in the HLA DR region – alluded to in another response above – understandings new to science in the last 20 years and barely starting to break into mainstream medical conversations.

        These beautiful people ARE FIXABLE !!

        Start with BiotoxinJourney.com/deciphering-hla-dr-labs/ to interpret the HLA DR lab results; watch Jen Brea’s documentary “Unrest”; read what Dr. Klinghardt has to say about autonomic nervous system dysfunction and EMFs … find a CIRS certified practitioner or environmental toxins specialist who knows all of these tests and names already for sure and is willing to keep learning with a team of like minded professionals.
        Become familiar with the evolving information found through ISEAI.org

        Never Never NEVER give up
        Universal Blessings and Vitality,
        p.s. nosebleeds blood test for Von Willebrand factor

    • Nick, you have been a wonderful brother. So patient, kind and loving. You and Jesse are amazing souls. I believe that Bekah is very ill. Your support and belief are paramount. Sending positive thoughts your way. Praying for Bekah’s healing.

    • Ted Byszinski

      Im sorry but there is without a doubt a mental component to Bekahs “disease”. First off she has claimed to be psychic and a witch, if she was truly psychic would she not be able to interpret the true cause of her own disease? Ive lived with a hypochondriac family member, and Bekah shows many signs of an intense hypochondriac. I dont doubt that she may feel some genuine pain or discomfort at times but this can almost certainly be equated to a placebo related effect in the mind. Just as the mind holds the power to cure some diseases and ailments just by someone thinking that they are taking a medication when they are not, it holds the power to create the illusion of a disease or sickness and related symptoms. To be frank if Bekah really suffered from the disease she claims to, it would take a massive physical toll on her body. Bekah is average, if not somewhat above average body mass index and when you consider that womans bodies are generally comprised of more fat than males its clear that she has a fair amount of body fat. After research one can determine that someone suffering from the disease that she claims to have would be withering away physically much like a cancer patient. She has a perfectly fine complexion, her exterior tissue profile and many other things do not reflect what she claims to have, if anything directly contradicts her supposed condition. There are likely some deep seated psychological issues at play here because frankly her physical characteristics directly contradict her claimed or supposed illness. Much like the lady who thinks she is hypersensitive to electricity, there is very little doubt about the fact that her issues are mainly, if not completely, related to her mental health and psychological state. She needs people around her that are caring, yet blunt and do not enable her confusion and contribute to what is clearly a illness of the mind, not body. Anyone who thinks differently is only prolonging her suffering unfortunately. I feel for her, i really do. As i said i have lived with a hypochondriac and understand that they think their illness is genuine- i highly doubt that she is willfully trying to mislead others. However she needs those around her to be truthful and help her get past this mental affliction. best wishes to her and her family/

      • Yeah, I was just like you at one time, and now I go in to anaphylaxis just from my own hormones and I cannot eat any food that contains preservatives. I wear a mask in public and spend 60% of my day in bed… I am now diagnosed with MCAS and POTS. Just thank God this isn’t the hand you’ve been dealt and understand that this is NOT a mental illness manifesting physical symptoms.

      • Of course I agree that her beliefs about being a psychic/witch/etc are ridiculous. But that doesn’t negate her symptoms or necessitate that the cause for those symptoms is psychosomatic. Even the most drastically mentally ill people get physically ill. And – her beliefs are no odder than mainstream religions. Should people with strong Christian beliefs have their illnesses dismissed on the basis of their religious beliefs, eg, talking to God or God talking to them?

    • I am curious as to why bekah would have ever gone to jesse’s apartment in NY in the first place since she is “psychic” – shouldn’t she have known that was going to be contaminated? Even if she wasn’t psychic, why would she go to a stranger’s house that she met on the internet?

    • Nick, I am super curious to know if you (and the other individuals in this series) are happy with the way these illnesses were portrayed. I only got through episode 4 and cried when Bekah’s illness was considered psychosomatic. We have worked so hard for people to even hear us out, and now we have this documentary that is portraying us as “mentally unstable.”

    • Nearly everyone in this series is mentally ill in one form or another and few are getting treatment for that actual and real illness.

    • hey, Nick would you mind contacting me or giving me your email address, Im fairly certain I can help your sister. (No strange or wild remedies or treatments either) Please and Thank you.

    • I have been sick for 21 years. I got a virus when I was 17 and never recovered. I spent quite some time like Jamison. I am now able to work from home part-time, write, do a little housework, etc. If I can be of help to Bekah in any way, my email is annie@annieblackberry.com. Thank you. You are all so brave.

  2. I’ve watched several episodes thus far, and while these patients are unquestionably suffering, profiling them in such a way sets a dangerous precedent. They all suffered from subjective symptoms but ultimately dismiss recommendations by health providers. My father, a pediatric intensivist, always taught me that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing and this show illustrates that to an extreme. These patients find an echo chamber either in loved ones or “Google”, finding others who will enable their constellations of symptoms into a very real illness. I do not doubt that some of them dismissed psychiatric medications (heavily supported by peer-reviewed science), opting for more fringe theories of medicine. But considering the narrative of the series, its further promoting the “anti-science” philosophy that’s taking the US by storm. As a neurologist, I suppose I’m just as clueless as they portray doctors to be.

    • Dangerous show with an ignorant message.

      • jennifer van gilst

        i took psychiatric medications for years , nothing made me feel any better until I realized my house was extremely moldy and I moved . You are wrong in your assessment

      • What’s so bad about it. I think it shows both sides of the pain.people suffer from there issues and the ones the love there sick partners .my girlfriend suffers from chemicals in the air house everywhere.its just as hard on me.i like the show.and Pilar serfish I know her husband pain

    • If you were a patient and the traditional approaches were helping you, would you seek treatment elsewhere? People seek help other places because the treatment (if any) they are getting from their current doctor is not improving their symptoms. Even symptom management (for anxiety, sleep, pain) would go a long way, but usually no treatment is offered, not even this. Please share the evidence that psychiatric medicines work for the diseases in this show. Psych meds are very powerful and it is unethical to push them on patients because you’re too lazy to keep up with the current research.

      At least one of the doctors profiled works at Stanford and with Ron Davis at Open Medicine Foundation. The next time you are named “one of the greatest innovators,” maybe then you can come back and talk about being anti-science. From where I’m standing, it doesn’t look like you are in a position to throw stones.

    • Solona Armstrong

      They “dismiss recommendations by health providers” because mainstream medicine doesn’t help.

      I have MCS. I live in avoidance. No fragrances, no synthetic chemicals. I went from bedridden to a full-time career and being able to hike tough mountains. Mainstream medicine didn’t heal me. I did.

      • Lacey Johnson

        Thanks for speaking the correct message, Solona. And for sticking up for Jamison. I am not on Twitter but I go to #mecfs often.

        If you can share in the #afflicted hashtag the following: MEpedia > ME/CFS https://www.me-pedia.org/wiki/ME/CFS
        and even MEpedia > Fibromyalgia https://www.me-pedia.org/wiki/Fibromyalgia it would be great. It starts spreading the correct message.

        Here is Jamison’s page: https://www.me-pedia.org/wiki/Jamison_Hill

      • Solona… no medical care helped, you just changed ?!?!? Seems like you manned up! Help others to do the same.
        And some other person living in a moldy house for years, duh that’s gonna f you up. People are crazy and keep getting weirder, science can’t help that. Even powder overcame his problems

    • Solona Armstrong

      Then science needs to catch up. We’ve introduced thousands of chemicals and wireless devices into the environment. Millions of people are reacting negatively. Those are facts.

      If science doesn’t know why, then science hasn’t caught up yet. It doesn’t mean people’s reactions are any less real.

      Furthermore, a lot of science does exist, it’s just suppressed. Chemicals are known to be endocrine disruptors, estrogenic, carcinogenic, irritating to the lungs, etc, etc.

      • Yes to everything you said. Took the words right outta my head. x

      • Humans are meant to adapt. It’s called evolution

      • I agree with what you said so much. People with these illnesses are not necessarily anti science. Look at the ME movement – they are asking for MORE science. A lot of illnesses, such as MS, were once called a type of hysteria before they found the biological cause. I think if we actually invested in more scientific research we could find out of these illnesses are real, but we don’t. Once you run out of ‘western medicine’ options you start trying the alternative ones. It doesn’t mean you don’t believe in the scientific method behind western medicine – its because western medicine doesn’t have anything for you….yet. Unfortunately doctors can be quite cruel so that is where the animosity comes from – not so much because people are anti science

      • Ok Solona. How did you heal yourself? Suddenly you can do everything that most living things do like exercise and go outside without any treatment? Read a book. You’re what anyone with common sense would call a hypochondriac. You are disgusting for promoting this modern-day mental illness and encouraging others to make up some disease. You want me to believe that there is a biological explanation for this, but you transitioned from crippled and diseased to healthy and active without a SINGLE biological alteration. With that, it becomes abundantly clear that the root of your problem is your mind. You also want me to believe that science is lagging behind you morons living in vans with no evidence to back your claims? You’re body has no choice but to adapt to it’s surroundings. If you’re severely allergic to mold, then maybe you need a series of allergy shots to improve your tolerance and a clean home. If you have MCS, and you don’t go into anaphylactic shock when you encounter perfume or other chemicals in the air, then you need to take a Zyrtec and go outside or something because you’re fine. Wear a mask if you feel so strongly about it, but you would never need to do more than that in order to survive. For the woman at the start of the first episode, you can’t be around smart devices, sort of, but cameras and other technology with nearly identical components and materials are not nearly as much of an issue. She even said herself she can deal with some of it. What does that mean? Sometimes technology is lethal and other times it’s just kind of there? Every person in this series just makes up symptoms as they go along, and the severity of those symptoms varies on a day-to-day basis. Check with a psychiatrist if you want help with your disease. All you want to do is whine and talk about what a struggle your life is until someone gives you attention. Some people are actually suffering in this world, and you are taking the attention away from them for this charade. Now everyone is going to have MCS and be allergic to smartphones even though blinded clinical trials show that people who apparently have MCS react as often and as strongly to placebos as they do to actual chemicals. Hope you’re happy.

    • Reading your comment it seems you are making the assertion that if a doctor cant diagnose something, then it isnt real. Is that the position you are coming from?

      And why are you so confident making assumptions Re: psych meds? You don’t think these people would take a psych medication if it would help them?

      Your professional training is super valuable and I’m grateful you’ve worked hard to be able to
      be a helping professional in the world. I’m sure you do a lot of good. I invite you to consider that these folks are drawn to alternative treatments because nothing else is has worked for them. You might do the same in their position.

    • MJ I hope you never get ill from a medical condition that little will treat due to your type of attitude. Of course thousands of people around the globe are all faking it so they can take over the world or ? I mean what are you thinking? I had lyme misdiagnosed and after dozens of doctors like you who kept sending me to a shrink because YOU DO NOT KNOW doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Shame on you

    • I suffer from a “rare” condition of Trigeminal Neuralgia, which I dismissed as just being an ache. 8yrs later, I suffer the same as I have the last I dunno 6yrs when it progressed. I am 100%P&T Disabled by the VA. I joined a couple TN pain support groups and what you describe is rampant! I regularly get suspended for being an a$$hole, but someone has to call bullsh*t. I am constantly saying, ignore all these suggestions for “oil pulling” and follow what your doctor prescribed. They almost all are anti-pharma and all medications are dirty.

      I check in on them once in a while to see if anyone reports an actual MEDICAL breakthrough I haven’t come across. So I just count the days to my MVD or radiation therapy. And they are all still suffering and smelling of essential oils.

    • I think oftentimes people end up seeking help from “fringe medicine” because western traditional medicine has failed them. For years doctors were more willing to tell a patient that the symptoms were all in their head rather than admit they didn’t know what was going on or that tests weren’t available to diagnose the patient’s condition. I think it’s important for patients to research their issues and self educate, but also work with professionals.

    • Maria Berger

      I know one of the people profiled, and I have the illness ME/CFS. I believe it was incorrectly portrayed that these individuals rejected standard treatments suggested by health practitioners. First, most doctors don’t really have anything to suggest for us. Second, most of us have tried EVERYTHING, and I do mean EVERYTHING to try to get well. Unfortunately, we learn the hard way that doctors who don’t know much about our condition can do more harm than good. There are only about a dozen ME specialists in the country, and the waiting list is years long. We often have no choice but to “google” things. And what the show depicted as googling is actually using Google to access scientific journals and good medical sources to keep up to date on the research.

      My community is avidly pro-science. We want research. We crave good science. We are finally getting some. Psychiatrics medications help some patients – antidepressants helped me deal with the depression of having an acute, sudden onset at age 24 of a very physical illness that never fully went away. Antidepressants do not cure ME patients.

      I am a lawyer. I was struck I’ll before I could begin my first job. I’ve been lucky enough to get well enough to be able to work again. As a lawyer, I understand the frustration of having clients come to me with half-baked ideas, and then question my expertise. However, I also know that there are many areas of law that are so specialized, that I know very little about them, despite my skill in my own area.

      As a neurologist, I would hope that you would look a bit more into the research on ME. Research over the past few years has documented many abnormalities in the physiology of ME patients, particularly in our metabolites. We really need good doctors. The ME/CFS center at Stanford would be a good source.

      Thank you,
      Maria

    • Eiden Maklaen

      But it doesn’t have to stay that way. The robust replicable scientific research is there. Please become part of the solution. HLA DR for disease association and MTHFR – these are a valid place to start – begin with your own in secret, then do your spouse and children – and their spouses and your grand children if you have them – make it personal you will never regret it. I made it to 44 years old with no ‘symptoms’ and had almost finished two doctorate degrees when cdc positive Lyme triggered epigenetic issues that wouldn’t resolve ‘easily’. In hindsight, my whole life and family tree makes perfect sense now. My son only made it to 18 months old before an indoor stachybotrys issue led to idiopathic very severe aplastic anemia (VSAA) and then chemo – his HLA DR issue inherited from me was the root cause and that is now on his charts. With informed experts we have learned to negotiate our inflammation – so far – and to lead intense, high quality lives while on the rollercoaster – He is thriving and on his way to college – – – All of us on this planet have issues, it’s our job to figure it out or the next generation doesn’t thrive.

      • Eiden Maklaen

        That reply was to MJ the neurologist above

    • For years I went to the Drs. because something was off. I was told it was anxiety. It wasn’t…. several years later I went in to anaphylaxis for no apparent reason in Wal Mart and after that day, I only had 2 foods my body would allow me to eat. I had no idea what was going on, doctors didn’t know either and that is a very scary place to be. Luckily I found an immunologist that has helped me get back on my feet and I can function about 40% normal again and I also have a full 1200 calorie diet again. I deal with MCAS. Mold, chemicals, even my own hormones can send me in to anaphylaxis and I can assure you, I am not manifesting or causing my own reactions. I refused SSRI medication too. It’s not a cure all for us when doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong. If you are in fact a Neurologist, you should read some of the papers written by Dr. Afrin.

  3. It’s always great to help enable people with obvious mental illnesses. Shows that lend any credibility to people with hypochondria or Munchausen Syndrome only hurt them in the long run. What a joke. Netflix should be ashamed.

    • jesse bercowetz

      Derek – This is Jesse, Bekah’s boyfriend. I’m sorry you feel that way. Hypochondria is a term that is often misused and is in this case derogatory. I can assure you that Bekah’s situation is real and there is a silent epidemic out there. I hope you find the time to educate yourself on this.
      Best wishes- Jesse

      • The support you give Bekah is amazing.
        But I’m also glad you are taking care of yourself too by fulfilling your goals at Harvard. Best wishes!

      • Jesse,

        I initially felt extreme empathy for Bekah and her situation.. That however changed after learning that she turned down the $25,000 stem cell treatment that was offered to her free of charge. The doctors at that clinic were very informed on her condition and even went as far to say that she is their typical patient and that they have seen fantastic results with this procedure. Instead of trying to get well, she drags you and her brother back out into the desert. No.. Something is off. I sympathize with you and it’s my opinion that you are too close to the situation to have the proper perspective on what is happening. She clearly has something going on, but isn’t willing to get help.. So why sacrifice your well being for someone not willing to do whatever is necessary to live in the real world.. Maybe she doesn’t want to?

      • Jesse, your support for Bekah is beautiful to see. I believe that Bekah is sick and suffering. She is hopeless and you can see it in her eyes. I also have a chronic illness that cannot be identified or cured – onset around 2011 after a severe bout with Mono, so I really understand how she feels. The hardest part of Chronic illness, aside from the suffering, is not having support or anyone that TRULY believes you. It is wonderful to see that you believe Bekah and offer so much help to her. You have no idea, how important that is. Nick has been wonderful too. I’m praying for her healing and continued strength for you and Nick.

      • Jesse, your a good man. This series I was literally torn watching the first few episodes toward the end, I was feeling real empathy for Bekah and the other sufferers. And that is hard for me because I am sorta stuck In my thinking….. You’re actually on my television now as I write this.. she’s getting her trailer right now what I’m watching so I have more to watch..bless you both in this journey ..may you both find peace…

      • Hi Jesse! I think you and Bekah’s brother are wonderful people, and I was so touched at all the love you all had for each other. I was just wondering- could there be any connection also to tattoo ink for Bekah? Has that possibility been considered? Just throwing that out there. I hope Bekah finds answers and feels better soon. All the best!

      • Hi Jesse – Why does Bekah have to live in the desert? I live in the Boston area and have the same illness. I feel really bad for her. She can move to the area to be near you if she wants and be happier. Living near the ocean is another great and much better imo option… if you want details I’m happy to offer any guidance.

      • what annoyed me about the documentary was that they kept implying that it was mental illness – yet they didn’t actually give any EVIDENCE that it was mental illness. Was anyone on the show given a psychiatric assessment? Where is the science behind the theory their mental illness is given them physical symptoms?

    • I would like to see you get mold toxicity or ME one day then your perspective would change.

    • jennifer van gilst

      these illnesses are real. Myself , my mom and my mother in law all have severe chemical sensitivities , mine being the worst . More and More people are suffering with these ailments but no one wants to speak up because they don’t want to be labeled crazy. You are very wrong in your assessment

    • MCS and ME/CFS are very real and they are not mental illnesses. Millions of people, at epidemic proportions, are having severe reactions and being disabled by chemicals, electromagnetism, and other environmental factors.

      Intelligent, well-adjusted people. Not mentally ill. The CDC recognizes it. It’s written into human rights commissions.

      The only shame is that more people don’t understand.

      • Ted Byszinski

        yes and i believe the male is genuinely ill. unfortunately he is placed in the same category as bekah and carmen, two women who are undoubtedly suffering from undiagnosed and untreated mental health issues. Bekah claims to be a psychic and a witch, and is a somewhat overweight young woman who claims to be suffering from a disease that would ravish her body.

      • The other shame you fail to mention is the stigma that still surrounds the mentally ill. Many of the “afflicted” portrayed in this documentary are highly offended at any suggestion that they are mentally ill and would benefit from antidepressants or therapy. Many of commenters of this article are appalled that anyone would dare suggest that these people who are clearly suffering, isolated, scared and in need of help could possibly be mentally ill. What if they are? What if YOU are? Does that make you less of a person? Do you no longer deserve sympathy and help because you are “mentally ill”? Are your physical symptoms suddenly negated because it is determined that you are suffering from depression, anxiety or agoraphobia?
        No, you can be “mentally ill” and still be in real physical pain. The fact that people refuse treatment like antidepressants that could be of great help because they don’t want to be labeled “crazy” makes me rage. I’m going to take a clonazapam and calm my crazy self down.

    • Krista Callinan

      ME is not a mental illness. It’s recognised by the World Health Organisation as a neurological disorder. The AMA recognised it as a serious psyiological disease in their 2015 in depth report. This series just did a poor job of explaining any physical facts. Clearly because it didn’t fit with their psychosomatic narrative.

      Watch ‘Unrest’, also on Netflix, to learn the real, complete deal about ME and Jamison’s experience will make much more sense.

    • Lets hope Derek you never get Lyme, because most of these illness on the show, and the problems with Mold come from Lyme. You don’t understand it until you get it. I can walk in a building and know there is mold there. Like turned on my sensitivities. Lyme put me in a wheelchair I had to self treat to get myself out of it. Hugs and prayers to anyone on this show.

  4. Hi for those of you wondering MECFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), one of the illnesses in the series, is quite real and serious. Private charities and even the National Institute of Health are trying to find a biomarker and treatment for this disabling disease. This disease is far from psychiatric. Thank you for bring more attention to these serious diseases.

    https://www.cdc.gov/me-cfs/

  5. jennifer van gilst

    i have mold sensitivity and severe MCS. its 100 % real and not psychosomatic. Many people are suffering from these illnesses , but are afraid to speak up because everyone thinks we are crazy. Please don’t judge until you have walked a mile in someone else’s shoes

  6. If you have not dealt with a chronic, complex medical issue then consider withholding your judgment. Even if you are a trained medical professional. It is very difficult when doctor after doctor tells you there is nothing to be done, and your symptoms keep getting worse.

    What are those of us who are suffering from complex autoimmune issues supposed to do? OF COURSE we’re going to look for alternative treatments. For my condition I saw three doctors, a nutritionist and two Gastroenterologists over the course of a year. They had no idea what to do with me and didn’t have the professional capacity to spend enough time with me to really figure stuff out. So I sought out a functional medicine doctor who utilizes extensive testing, supplementation and nutritional counseling, as well as some Rx’s.

    And there is nothing wrong with self education via the internet. It doesn’t replace a trained professional, but for some of us, the trained professionals are at a loss, and we aren’t super wealthy, so what else have we got?

    Don’t judge if you haven’t been there.

  7. Erik Johnson

    I’m the first “patient prototype” for the 1988 Holmes CFS definition.
    When I was asked to serve in this capacity, I initially refused because I was already recovering by a strategy of “mold avoidance” and was no longer a good example of how bad the illness is. But when told my recovery would not interfere, I then agreed, thinking “CFS researchers are really going to want to know about this”
    This is where the story gets better. Not a single CFS researcher ever did.
    In fact, the ONLY researcher in the entire WORLD who wanted to know about this bit of trivia is Dr Ritchie Shoemaker.
    To this very day, all other researchers refuse to accept this information.
    -Erik
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————-

    Mold Warriors by Dr Ritchie Shoemaker
    Gateway Press 2005

    Chapt. 23
    Mold at Ground Zero for CFS

    History Doesn’t Remember the Names of the Critics

    The history of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) begins in Incline Village, Nevada in 1985. In the medical history of CFS, each of the concepts applies–failed theories and failed criticism.
    One victim, Erik Johnson, told everyone who would listen that mold was a cause of CFS. He came up with his theory at the wrong time in the politics of medical opinion, as a unknown viral cause was blamed instead. Johnson tried repeatedly to get the attention of leading CFS researchers then and now to look at what he knew about mold sensitivity. None of the heralded CFS researchers would listen.
    Twenty years passed before Erik’s mold opinions were vindicated. I wasn’t in Incline Village; I have no idea what really happened there.
    I don’t see any proof that anyone recorded a biotoxin history. Was mold the problem? One part of the problem? Did the virus of Incline Village unveil mold susceptibility? No one can say now.
    Erik remains upset that his ideas weren’t respected. I haven’t heard the Incline Village story from the side of the docs involved. From what I’ve seen, physicians like Dr Peterson and Dr Cheney remained true to a standard of high-quality, compassionate, ethical care.
    Erik raises some important points, however. There’s never any time that we can afford to ignore insights from those who have a valid experiential basis for their opinion.

    • Erik Johnson

      If I met someone who acted and dressed like a witch before I “hit the wall” with mold, would I have believed them?
      I’m pretty sure I would…. because I did.

      Surviving Mold – Dr Ritchie Shoemaker

      Chapt 17 CFS and Other Medical Mistakes”
      by Erik Johnson

      It was about this same time that a co worker at the place where I worked started having some serious “wife problems”, and just didn’t know what to do, or who to talk to about it. He said his marriage was a good one, and they weren’t going through particularly difficult times, but his wife had begun acting strangely. He would increasingly wake up to find her gone, out to sleep right on the ground in the back yard. She had no explanation other than not feeling right inside their house. But in the last few days, this behavior had escalated, and nowhere to be found until he searched the neighborhood, and found her curled up in various places, further and further from the house.
      “Drugs”, “She’s having an affair”, “Total lunatic, dump her” were what some helpful people advised. He vehemently defended his wife, saying they had an honest relationship and talked freely about what was happening to her, and it was none of that… she just didn’t feel good in the house anymore.
      “Is it me? Do you want to leave?” he asked her. “No, it’s just the house. Something isn’t right” she replied. Totally perplexed, and obviously in pure desperation, he opened to more people, hoping to find some answer to this mystery. I told him about my own strange circumstance, and volunteered to come to his house. In relief that anyone took him seriously, he eagerly took me up on my offer. On the drive, he explained that it was a quaint little “mother in law” type apartment that had been converted from a garage that was old enough that it had once served as a carriage house next to the barn, “But very comfortable, and just right for my small family”. My friends wife was far from the raving drug addicted lunatic that some had predicted she must be. In fact, I found her to be perfectly lucid and reasonable. She told me that while most times, the apartment felt acceptable, there were moments that swept upon her like nightmare, when she felt that her very life depended on getting out of the house, immediately. “Why don’t you wake your husband” I inquired, and she said how odd it was that at these very same times, he was seemingly so deep in repose that he almost seemed in a trancelike coma. Even if he almost seemed to be waking, he would just lay right back down and instantly fall asleep. She told me that the backyard hadn’t given her relief, and she had found it necessary to get farther away before feeling better. Her intention had only been to get out for a few hours, maybe for a long walk, and then return, but upon laying down in a neighbors doorway or on a park bench, she would lose all sense of time until the daylight woke her, but she meant no harm by any of this.
      The calm demeanor with which she spoke, and the blazing reasonableness of everything she described was enough to convince me that here was no crazy person, but there was more. My heart pounded, but not with excitement, for whatever it was that I encountered along my drive to go flying, it seemed to be here too.
      While my friend was relieved when I told him that his wife was perfectly rationale and had excellent reasons for the way she was behaving, he still seemed reluctant to accept my insistence that “something” was causing this. After all, “It’s not bothering me” and even if she was sensitive to something like mold or mouse droppings, “Can it really be so bad as to crawl out and sleep out in a dangerous park?” To that, I had no answer.

      • Erik Johnson

        This incident was in 1980.
        Five years later, when I was asked to serve as “a prototype for a new syndrome”, I had believed this would give me the credentials and ability to obtain research into what was truly an amazingly interesting mold phenomenon.

        And by chance unveiled another equally interesting one.

        The fact that not a single CFS researcher had any intention of investigating the incident and circumstances that caused the CDC’s investigation to come to Lake Tahoe.

        Not one!

        I call it “Ballistic Academic Disdain” “BAD”

        Because it’s about as BAD a way to “do science” as anyone could ever imagine.

  8. Jeanne Hoel

    Good review .Another sad thing about the show is the vulnerability of sufferers to con artist healers of various stripes. I’m curious if this series leads to legal action against that blond Environmental doctor .

  9. The crazy echo chamber has arrived in droves.

  10. Lacey Johnson

    Myalgic encephalomyelitis (Renamed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the late 80’s, rebranded as psychosomatic to save government research money and to save insurance companies money as people with a mental health issue get cheap drugs and private disability payments are stopped as mental health issues have a no-payment clause. See how that works.)

    https://www.me-pedia.org/wiki/Myalgic_encephalomyelitis

  11. Ei Crusade

    I appreciate the article writer JONATHON WILSON trying to understand and explaining his struggles to and ultimately his appreciation of the humanity of the issue of being “afflicted” by an illness like ours.

  12. Susan Secord

    This message is for carmen,, I am moving to kanab, utah next year –check this out!!!! It might be what you are looking for!

  13. Jennifer Brea

    This is a perfect example of why filmmaking, film criticism and science often don’t mix. Afflicted looks at these illnesses through a tiny keyhole, you review the view through that tiny keyhole. This would all be helped by a few hours on PubMed or by interviewing a few reputable, expert clinicians or scientists. Making documentary film subjects the “proof” of the existence or nonexistence of an illness is a ridiculous exercise.

    Moreover, Jamison, who has ME/CFS, is the patient about which you should have the *least* amount of “cynicism.”

    The National Academy of Medicine: http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2015/ME-CFS.aspx
    The Centers of Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/me-cfs/index.html
    The National Institutes of Health: https://www.nih.gov/research-training/medical-research-initiatives/mecfs
    ME/CFS research summary: http://www.meaction.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/ME2FCFS-RESEARCH-SUMMARY-Jamie-Seltzer.pdf
    New York State Department of Health: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/conditions/me-cfs/
    Stanford ME/CFS Initiative: https://med.stanford.edu/chronicfatiguesyndrome.html
    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Research Center: http://med.stanford.edu/sgtc/donation.html
    Harvard ME/CFS Research Center: https://www.meaction.net/2018/05/23/open-medicine-foundation-announces-harvard-collaborative-research-center/

    • Jonathon Wilson

      I appreciate where you’re coming from. I have friends with ME/CFS, and one our contributors is a sufferer also, so its validity and seriousness aren’t lost on me. But my job isn’t to prove or disprove anything, or to conduct any rigorous scientific inquiries. My job is to critique a piece of filmmaking, and where possible make determinations about what I feel that piece of filmmaking is trying to say and/or achieve.

      Jamison is presented within Afflicted the same way the other individuals are: As someone whose illness doesn’t manifest externally, and isn’t, to one degree or another, entirely understood by the medical community or the general public. Within the context of the documentary he’s as open to cynicism as anyone else, and that’s the context I care about in a review.

      • Lacey Johnson

        Well, maybe you can dig deeper. Perhaps into the ethics of misleading the disabled to make a film about them. I believe the filmmakers broke federal disability laws.

    • Eiden Maklaen

      Dear Exceptionally Beautiful Earthling,

      Thank you for choosing to dig your toes well into the sand, breathe deep as you look up to the sun, and let your voice be heard with clarity and conviction – ‘humans’…

      I am a 11-3-52B 7-3-53 compound heterozygous MTHFR borrelia gifted 2009
      Everyone should know these things – advancement so paltry even Kuhn would roll his eyes.
      We can put together tech that supports development of i.e. George Smoot On the Design of the Universe. We can view hundreds and hundreds of billions of galaxies (light from) at a time.
      Somehow, the majority on this planet end up in a power down position and egos get in the way of diagnosing complex runaway inflammation and dysfunctional innate immune responses (yes, and then came ‘Occam’ ). Maybe I have heard you mention some of these threads of your own. Maybe I then felt freer to do the same. Less …. impostership …. more authentic.

      We should all be focused on what’s happening in AI research and man-made environmental toxins not busy begging the establishment to acknowledge the ‘new basics’ in genetics that are already decades old.
      Willful blindness and Groupthink rampant infections.

      The ‘Afflicted’ Producer / Director needs to be very very careful from here on out – these individuals are in seriously compromised health on many levels – the Belmont Principles for a situation like this becomes social vigilance and threat of loss of income (including lawsuits). I am praying that the ‘Afflicted’ team gets their act together and exhibits some altruism before it is too late as there is certainly enough guidance available in feedback for this “cast” already through various online media.

      Hoping that you feel blessed every minute of every day, that the universe is swinging some of what you give back your way.

  14. Kerry Kritz

    Star has symptoms of BII! I hope she sees this! Breast Implant Illness! It’s real and I think that maybe your problem. Positive vibes your way sister! Hugs

  15. I feel sorry for the families and friends of the afflicted. It seems that it would be pretty easy to prove the legitimacy of some of the illnesses proposed in the series. I think most of these ailments are psychosis and its sad that part of treatment is not addressed at all. Also, for those legitimizing some of the illnesses I would say that just because a group of people believe in a concept, that concept is not validated just because people want to believe. I think there is a reason that traditional medicine/therapy doesn’t work and its because there isn’t a real physical underlying cause. Sorry, I’m really not empathetic to a drunk that keeps coming up with new things to have wrong or a woman who just simply wants to be divorced and looking for attention. When you don’t look sick, you probably aren’t sick. My family all have different layered immuno diseases and yet we all get things treated as they pop up and still function, have social and family lives, work daily, etc. I also know plenty of people that have Lyme disease and may have setbacks, but still work every day doing things like plumbing jobs and farming full time. So, color me a huge skeptic.

    • Krista Callinan

      Can you see someone’s diabetes? No. Can you see someone who has partially blocked artries and a ticking timebomb to a heart attack? No. You don’t have to look sick to be sick. Look up ‘Invisible Illness’.

      And treatments, in the case of ME we still don’t know what causes it or where in the body it originates from, so you can’t treat something if you don’t know what you’re treating.

      Watch ‘Unrest’, also on Netflix for the full (unedited to suit a psychosomatic narrative) picture of what ME is and why we still don’t have a treatment or a cure.

    • Please remember that MS was called ‘hysterical paralysis’ before the MRI was developed and we were able to see the lesions in the brains of MS patients that cause them to become paralyzed. Medical science doesn’t know everything there is to know. After another advance in technology we might be able to figure out a biomarker for some of these illnesses. It is going to be really interesting to see how this film will be interpreted in 20 or 30 years time and do you really want to fall on the side of history as the person who called them ‘drunks’, ‘attention seeking’ and ‘pyschotic’ from your armchair?

  16. If Jamison’s condition is legit, then why hasn’t a doctor come to see him… it’s been two years? Personally, I can relate to being bedridden for an extended period of time after a nasty motorcycle accident. The atrophy and progressive energy loss my body sustained over time was blatantly evident and reduced me to a shell of my previous self…. after only THREE months. Jamison is shown to struggle to simply put his feet to the ground and hasn’t been out of his room in two years?? Sorry. The physiology simply doesn’t add up.

    • Krista Callinan

      Actually, there is plenty to support the physiology. This series just did a poor job of promoting it. They were however very quick to promote the psychosomatic angle time and again; clearly their preferred narrative.

      There is plenty of current (and older) research out there that proves the physiological abnormalities in people with ME. There is evidence of various elements not crossing the cell wall and thus inhibiting the mitochondria from functioning correctly to produce energy. There is evidence of autonomic system disruption. For example on average people with ME have a litre or more of lower blood volume than normal and thus being upright is difficult because the body struggles to get enough oxygen to the brain.

      The main problem is finding the right doctors, who have the right information and understanding. Jamison lives 3.5hrs from such a doctor. It’s hard to get a doctor to treat chronic illness when you’re bedbound, let alone when they are so few and far between. I have ME and live in Melbourne, Australia and it took me 4yrs to finally find a doctor that really knows ME. I finally had tests coming back positive (for gut malabsorption issues, low blood volume, low cell calcium levels, etc) and am finally getting real treatments (betablocker to slow the heart, electrolytes to help absorb water to up blood volume, LDN, etc), which have improved my condition, but will never cure it until science fully understands what exactly is going on in our bodies.

      Watch ‘Unrest’, also on Netflix, to learn the real, complete deal (not just edited to suit the filmmakers narrative version) about ME and Jamison’s experience will make so much more sense.

      • I’m specifically talking about the lack of atrophy. He is said to have not left his bed for two years… he even baths in a blow up tub placed on his bed. I was confined to my bed for “only” 3.5-ish months (yet managed to pull myself to the tub and bathroom) and my limbs were rails due to not being able to walk and confined to a wheelchair when I needed to move. Jamison is experiencing none of that. Regardless of what a person’s condition actually is, the lack of atrophy does not jive with a person who has not gotten out of bed in two years. It just doesn’t add up.

  17. I have watched most of the series now and am saddened that the loved ones of these poor people are not getting their psychosis diagnosed and treated so they can lead normal lives. Their symptoms are sporadic, their sensitivity to environment and others sporadic upon what helps support their neediness, and those using homeopathic “medicines” are probably causing alot of their own symptoms. Alot of witch doctory treatments and crap “professionals” feeding into their psychosis which is even sadder, taking all of their money. They all have emotional triggers, not physical ones. Two obviously want to be divorced, but not from the money, two are drinking alot, just alot of things that point to mental, not physical illness. Sad that they are supported into their OCD type illnesses.

  18. Nadine Lanz

    Jamisons story eerily reminded me alot of my own friend leahs story. She was told she had MS and that the majority of her symptoms were in her head. When i saw this first episode all I could think about Leah and how her original medical diagnosis was MS, but due to her persistence she would eventually realize she had chronic lyme disease. Thanks to rick simpson oil Leah went from bed ridden and “herxing” multiple times per day, to living a full and complete life. Something for all of these individuals to look into.

  19. Mainstream medicine? You did a 180 on your own? Sounds kind of like you mentally changed, oh and eliminated fragrances from daily life. You seem to be very into backing all of this and these people, and you just changed one day 🤔…. interesting…..

    Solona Armstrong
    August 11, 2018
    They “dismiss recommendations by health providers” because mainstream medicine doesn’t help.
    I have MCS. I live in avoidance. No fragrances, no synthetic chemicals. I went from bedridden to a full-time career and being able to hike tough mountains. Mainstream medicine didn’t heal me. I did.

  20. Pilar is such a douche bag, her husband is spending his life savings, working two jobs, not living or having sex with his wife and she doesn’t even consider him her husband nor love him- her words not mine. This chick is a piece of work and he should leave her and find someone who cares. She is quite clearly using him. Listen to your pops, Jeff.

  21. I just watched every episode and found it fascinating, mostly because of my heavy research into psychosomatic illnesses. To Jesse and any other family members/friends/caregivers of these individuals. After all the things that you have tried over the years, I recommend just one more- just takes maybe 8- 10 hours total of your life. Read these two books: “It’s All in Your Head: True Stories of Imaginary Illness” by OSullivan and “Codependent No More” by Beatte. They will help you to really understand what is going on with your loved one. Don’t let the tiles scare you away-the symptoms the person is exhibiting are, indeed, very real to them. However, none can be cured by standard medical care, they need intense psychological healing. And, friends, SO DO YOU. Your identity has become entangled in their illness. You are reliant on them for your sense of purpose. Just read the books what could it hurt?

    • Krista Callinan

      ME is not psychological. It is physical. There are thousands of studies that prove the physical nature of the disease. It is recognised as such by the World Health Organisation, AMA, CDC, etc. The body doesn’t produce energy properly, much like a diabetic doesn’t produce insulin properly, if at all. Please watch ‘Unrest’, also on Netflix to learn about ME.

  22. Christine Badostain Badostain

    I have completed only the first episode of “Afflicted”, and it looks very clear what is going on—some sort of unresolved issue that has been manifesting as physical dis-ease because the immune system has been compromised—remember that it is ALL energy and the immune energy is highly unbalanced—could be due to various issues—particularly unresolved unconscious emotional issue—it was quite interesting as I watched Star’s plight unfolded, it became obvious, very quickly, that she was in an emotionally vacuous marriage, and then at the end of the episode she was moving to WV to “start over”—the body speaks what the lips cannot. I could go on (and on), “toxic world” = projecting inner (scary) toxic feelings onto outer (safe) objects

  23. Christine Badostain Badostain

    Whoops! Carmen is the woman’s name not “Star”

  24. I only watched the first episode but basically, there’s no science included in this documentary. The first girl was self diagnosed, with the symptoms all leading back to neurological issues. Letting her lead the way and her educate absolutely anyone is why doctors prefer you to stay away from google. Doctors go to school for 4-12 years to gain this knowledge, a google search won’t substitute that. We know our symptoms, that’s only the start. Doctors proceed to test to conclude any diagnoses. Also, every one of these people are doing what is not suggested. Nasal rinse…can cause chronic infections if you don’t have a strong immune system. Laying in bed all day, definitely will result in circulation issues. I can’t personally diagnose any of these people but I can suggest to focus on the ph levels. Starting with urine, at home. If it’s lower than a 7, take baking soda and water for a few days, see how that feels. If it’s higher than a 7, take a bunch of vitamin c and yogurt. I’m not saying this is the answer, I’m saying try it. Along with adaptogenic herbs (rhodiola, Ashwagandha, ginseng..) humans are built to withstand all environments this planet has to offer, and we are built to adapt to new environments. That’s the process of evolution. Also, detoxing and flushing constantly will leave you more vulnerable to infections. Your body needs bacteria to survive, the root might be that is missing from your system. Take a good probiotic, eat lots of yogurt, and focus on ph. Get the 10 parameter urine sticks from amazon which will give you an idea of what’s up with your system. Stay away from alcohol, drugs, and all the shit food. Eat all greens , go on a juice diet even. Detoxing is worse if you’re not replacing with what your body needs. Just my opinion

    • Krista Callinan

      I have ME. Our main problem is it isn’t taught in medical school. So doctors don’t know what to do with us. Then shows like this stigmatise the illness as very wrongly being psychosomatic. There is a mountain of research out there that proves there is something very wrong with the body of a person with ME’s ability to produce energy at a cellular level (mitochondria), but we still don’t know where or how it starts. There are symptom treatments, that will ease the condition, but won’t cure it. Jamison wouldn’t be choosing to stay in bed, his ME body would literally not be making the energy to allow his muscles to work, plus he mentions feeling better after IV fluids. This is very common in ME. We don’t make enough blood, so being upright is difficult as the body can’t get enough blood and thus oxygen to the brain so you can pass out. There’s much more to it. All physical. NOT mental. Please watch ‘Unrest’ also on Netflix to learn properly about ME.

  25. ME is not as you characterize it. CDC estimates that 1-2.5 million Americans have it. This information is available on their website that dedicates several pages to the disease. 17 million worldwide. In the US it is more commonly known as by the inaccurate term Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Jamison’s case is at the very severe end of the spectrum.

  26. A note to the author, I didnt get the impression that any of the doctors were “stifling a scoff”.

  27. Ted Byszinski

    To be frank there are two people on this show that are purely hypochondriacs and do not suffer from anything other than the illusion of a perceived illness. Carmen and Bekah both show clear signs of someone who is a hypochondriac and those around them would be doing them a favor by no longer enabling their confusion and being bluntly honest with them and the illusion they have created within themselves. Just like the mind is capable of curing the body without medicine (the placebo effect is well documented and known) these people have created a condition within themselves. These are likely due to deep seated psychological conditions that need to be addressed immediately. These people have mental health issues, and nothing more. I dont think they are wilfully trying to deceive people and they need help from a mental health perspective, not from a physical health perspective.

  28. I don’t doubt Star because she looks able-bodied, I doubt Star because when you observe her, her behaviour could suggest Munchausen’s. Alarm bells for her first rang when she began listing off all the illnesses she had: it was very much in that way people with Munchausen’s do, like if they tell you all of these things wrong with them it will increase your sympathy for them and there’s an almost pride in their labels.

    I dismissed that, though, until at her birthday party, all she could talk about was her medical problems: like yes, update your friends, but again, you find this with Munchausen’s.

    The thing that cemented my doubts about her, though, was how her dystonia manifested. For reason’s beyond my understanding, her dystonia is almost non-existent when not talking about her dystonia and not near a medical professional but when she is near a medical professional, suddenly it’s amped up x100. You can notice that she’ll talk normally and then when dystonia is brought up, suddenly, she begins showing symptoms. She said it was on and off, but it’s a very convenient on and off and the “on and off” thing is something you see used by some people as a reason behind why their illness magically surges in certain situations, like when with a medical professional.

    Thus far, Star is the only one I definitely suspect something isn’t right with, so it’s not a bias toward those with chronic illnesses.

  29. This series was very interesting to me. I work in the medical field and I have family who works in the medical field as homeopathic doctors. I emphasize with many of the people in this series. I also feel like some of the people who have their illness also suffer from depression and anxiety. I want to know what would happen if they did their natural treatments plus sought counseling for the depression and anxiety. Like the doctors said, your body getting better is a state of the mind. I feel really bad for Pilars husband. It seemed like he spent everything on her out of love and she showed no appreciation.

  30. I’m a guy who has suffers from allergies that are so severe that if I stop taking the anti-histamines my skin goes into hives and starts to feel like its literally burning off. They cropped up inexplicably about five years ago. I know what unbearable pain feels like. I’m also a guy who has suffered from mental illness and extreme social anxiety. I know what it feels like to crack and how serious the symptoms can be. How they can manifest physically.
    I’m also a guy who is pursuing a science degree in university. I have a general understanding of science and know how to assess stuff based on evidence and reasoning. I’m not a professor but it means I know stuff like what stem cells are and when someones trying to use pseudo-scientific bullshit on someone who does not.

    I’m not going to bother going point by point because no matter how tactfully I put it someones going to take offense and in all probability someone already has.
    One thing I will say is that if you enter a supermarket completely fine, spot an aisle of VACCUM SEALED BOTTLES and then start freaking out because there are too many chemicals in the air surrounding the VACCUM SEALED BOTTLES then your problem probably isn’t a physical illness.

    Here is the synopsis;
    A couple of the people in this may actually be ill, its possible. They have my sympathy.
    More than a couple are clearly suffering from some sort of acute mental break and needed desperately to get away from people. That is just as serious. They also have my sympathy.
    A few however show all the symptoms of being raging self-obsessed assholes determined to drag their loved ones (or in one case unloved one) down into their nonsense. I’ll leave it to your imagination how I feel towards them.

    • “It’s science, I know science, you wouldn’t understand science.” – Drake

  31. My mother had fibromyalgia before that was even a diagnosis. Too many invasive tests, false hope and confusion made me crazy. I loved that thier stories here were exposed so more understanding can happen. Even if its only knowing that there is someone else like you out there. I feel for Pilars husband. You, sir, are a Saint. You tried and in the end you will see that freedom from her personality is your salvation.

  32. Donna Barrett LaMont

    I love the show and feel sorry for the people that are afflicted. I have chronic migraines and even knowing the diagnosis, it is hard to deal with. I would love to know more backstory about Bekah’s boyfriend getting in to Harvard. I know it is not what the show is about, so it was glossed over, but my curiosity is killing me

  33. Bekah…you have systemic candida throughout your body. Your body is overloaded with candida. I’ve had many of your symptoms. Look into it

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