Chronic Illness On-Screen: Mindy Bledsoe and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

According to a story from Eye for Film, Mindy Bledsoe with both direct and star in an upcoming film called The In-Between. This movie will be centered on two friends, Mads and Junior, who travel across the US to mourn a dead sister and say goodbye to a brother. The film is intended to touch on a variety of themes, such as learning independence, loneliness, and chronic illness. The characters’ experiences are based on the real-life experiences of the actors, who both a chronic illnesses in real life. Mads is played by Jennifer Stone, who has diabetes, and Mads is played by Mindy, who has complex regional pain syndrome. 

About Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), which is also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy, is a disorder that affects a portion of the body, usually a limb. The cause of the disorder is not fully understood. It often begins after a stroke, surgery, injury, or heart attack. Prior injury to the peripheral nerves, smoking, and hemiplegia appear to increase risk. Symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome include damage to the bones and skin, extreme, agonizing pain, swelling, and a limited range of motion. Treatment includes therapy, medications such as ketamine and bisphosphonate, and surgery. It is important to begin treatment early to avoid permanent harm to the affected limb, such as thinning of bones and muscle atrophy. It can also spread without treatment. To learn more about complex regional pain syndrome, click here.

Depicting Characters with Chronic Illness

The film aims to depict the transitional, “in-between” moments of life when it isn’t clear what will come next, as well as how friendships, however brief, can have a lasting impact in those moments and offer critical support. Mindy says that while she feels it is important that both of the characters have chronic illnesses and part of the film involves their handling of it, she intentionally made sure that the primary focus of the story was elsewhere.

Too often, chronic illnesses are portrayed as the defining characteristic of a character’s life when in reality there is so much more going on. Patients are human beings, not just a diagnosis. Mindy felt it was important to take this angle with the film. However, the chronic illness is still a theme that is addressed and Mindy investigates how it impacts the characters’ lives in various ways, such as how it affects personal growth and development and perceptions of self-worth.

Representation is also important for Mindy, who says that it would have made a major difference for her in the past to see characters with rare or chronic diseases. She also hopes to encourage empathy and support for “invisible illnesses” from able-bodied viewers.

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