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As a Communications major, I learned a lot about expressing myself through media, specifically film and video. I was a novice at editing, so it was super fun to take a couple of film classes and learn more about what it takes to make a short film. It’s fun to tap into my creative side. I learned a lot from my professor and my peers about the different ways to portray feelings and emotions. It was so fun to see what the other students would create, as well as learning more about them!
I made a this film in one of my classes about living with Common Variable Immunodeficiency. Since I was diagnosed after my freshman year of college, this disease became a huge part of my college experience. It was so unexpected, but it taught me a lot about life and my own strength.
CVID is an invisible illness, so people wouldn’t know I’m sick just by looking at me. It’s always been such a weird concept to think about. I hold the power in whether or not I share what I am going through.
Invisible illness was the inspiration behind creating this film, because even though people can’t tell that I am sick, I can still show them life through my lens. I wanted to portray the ups and downs that have come with chronic illness, and that although it can be hard, it doesn’t stop me from getting out there and enjoying life. It wasn’t my choice to have this disease, but I can choose how to respond to it.
Making the Film
I had to ask myself this question: “How do I show instead of tell?” I can try to explain my feelings and what I am going through, but sometimes it is easier to paint a picture. Right after my diagnosis, I spent so long wondering if anyone would understand me. I was invisible in more ways than one.
I had this desire to feel seen by my friends and family, even though it was hard to express myself.
The journey of writing, discussing, and showing my chronic illness has been healing, and it helped me realize that I don’t have to hide all of the parts of myself that aren’t glamorous. Those who love and support you will be by your side no matter what.
Many people live with invisible illnesses. There are good days and bad days, but getting your life back is the best feeling! After receiving treatment, I started to feel like myself again. Even though there is no cure, I am definitely grateful that I was able to finish college and start living my adult life. I always thought it would stop me, but it hasn’t stopped me yet.
Making this film helped me reflect on my journey with CVID and understand how the disease has affected my life. I am so proud of how far I have come, and I am excited to continue raising awareness about chronic illness.
Click the link below to watch!
If you or a loved one has primary immunodeficiency, you are not alone! Check out the Immune Deficiency Foundation for more information about living with this disease and connecting with others! They have annual walks, so you can find out if there is one in your city. Through their website, I have discovered so much more about my disease and been able to learn about others’ stories.