A Woman Bravely Shares Her Uphill Struggle to Get Her ‘Invisible Illness’ Properly Diagnosed

Jen Brea, a woman who became ill with myalgic encephalomyelitis, a neurological disease that’s more commonly known as “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”, bravely recounted her long, frustrating struggle to get herself properly diagnosed in a powerful TED Talk. Her quest for answers was an uphill struggle in that her doctor’s did not understand her profound symptoms, so they instead attributed her illness to a psychological disorder. This frustration of not knowing, lead Brea to become an outspoken advocate for invisible illnesses and autoimmune diseases, both of which are known to be either misdiagnosed or dismissed completely.

Five years ago, TED Fellow Jen Brea became progressively ill with myalgic encephalomyelitis, commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome, a debilitating illness that severely impairs normal activities and on bad days makes even the rustling of bed sheets unbearable. In this poignant talk, Brea describes the obstacles she’s encountered in seeking treatment for her condition, whose root causes and physical effects we don’t fully understand, as well as her mission to document through film the lives of patients that medicine struggles to treat.