Sandra Woods
Art despite pain

In the news

There's something new on TV this week, free and online, about chronic pain.
The award-winning short-form documentary series, "You Can't Ask That", from the CBC Gem and Accessible Media (AMI-tv) networks, finally created an episode on Chronic Pain to close out Season 3.
Although it was released today, the filming of my segment of this episode was done back in February at Pixcom Productions' TV studio in Old Montréal.
I was filmed alone, as were some others in different cities, and there were also some small groups of two people. Aside from the groups, none of us were aware of the other answers to each question.

Although I was in filming for an hour and a half, the final episode is only 22 minutes long; it will be a half-hour TV show, once commercials are added.
We all answered the same questions, but our replies were edited to avoid having too many people saying the same things in response to each question.
The concept of the series is to ask people living with disabilites and/or health challenges the kinds of impolite or even derogatory questions that many of us have already encountered in real life...
And to give us the opportunity to respond - honestly and sometimes emotionally - in a safe envionment.

The questions are MEANT to be almost confrontational; that's the whole concept of this award-winning documentary series, to have people answer questions that "polite society" would never ask.
From the introduction to the Chronic Pain episode:
"You’re not really disabled, are you? Are you really in pain, or do you just want to get high off pain meds?
These outspoken Canadians set the record straight on the stigmas and realities of chronic pain."

So if you notice me sometimes looking towards the ceiling during the episode, or off to the side, it's because I'm trying not to cry. Because if I'd have started crying then they'd have stopped filming, and I wanted to finish taping the show.
I'm hoping this episode could be a way for people living with pain to start or revive conversations about how they're really doing, with their family and friends, maybe even colleagues and community members.
And to let them know that they're not alone.

You can watch the Chronic Pain episode of You Can't Ask That here: