As for me, this is not a documentary about chronically ill patients, but rather an entertainment reality show in which the actors are paid for performing in certain ways that fit the narrative purpose of Netflix. Though one of its producers uses the term "compassionate lens" to describe his intention of filming, in the casting period, interviewers asked Jamison Hill (one of the patient suffering from ME) "Does it hurt to talk this much? Are you in pain?" Jamison nodded his head and the interviewer continued to ask questions unsympathetically.
In the Jamison part of the show, what left in my mind after watching was the sharp contrast between how healthy he was before and how incapable he is now. This thought or in other words, the lens of watching a "documentary" shocked me. Therefore, I started to look for clues carefully in the show. I noticed that the word "hypochondria" appeared so many times. How strange it is that different people in the same film just happened to use the same word? I realized we cannot see how the interview questions are worded, all we can see is the post-editing of the sentences being said by the identical vulnerable families. There is a snow scene to show the time passing. I originally thought if the snow was fake, at least they should go to the house in the winter to show it is a "documentary." But they did not. According to Jamison's own blog post, they only went during July, August, and September.
My curiority leads me to search for Jamison's Facebook. Surprisingly, I saw him just like a normal person who posts organization of friends, wonderful activities, and selfies. In the show, however, all of past pictures continued reminding me how incapable he is now but without spreading the basic knowlegde of ME and the regular medical operations the community needs. The documentary should at least be the thing the producer promised the patients would be, which is, a documentary film. Clearly, they failed. It reminded me of Virginia Woolf's essay "On being ill." We can't know the drama happened to the body, the sympathy we have is just another way of distortion. If a film wants to raise awareness of unusal illness, you can't say that a physical illness is psychomatic and expect the people with that illness to support your film. You just can't have it all.