“I hate to tell you this over the phone, but the test came back positive for multiple sclerosis.” The world stops. Numbness sets in. Autopilot takes over. Over the next few weeks, grief and loss drench the body and mind in heavy black ooze. Sleep is elusive. Eating nonexistent. Making it through the day seems nearly impossible, yet the seconds keep ticking away. Family members begin to worry about your mental health. Friends talk of staying positive and then quickly change the subject. The reality sets in … life is forever altered.
Sometimes life hits us with challenges that tear apart the fabric of who we think we are and force us to come face-to-face with how we are living out our time on this planet. Getting diagnosed with a chronic illness is one of those challenges. In Face to Face, six North Carolinians living with MS share their stories of loss, self-discovery, and transcendence. The documentary was created specifically for people newly diagnosed with MS, who can often feel alone, adrift, and confused. The voices of these six individuals, however, speak to us all. They remind us that life is short and call us to live each moment of this precious life consciously, deliberately, and fully.
Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis four years ago served as a catalyst that pushed Paige Greason to begin taking classes at CDS, a major step toward her lifelong goal of becoming a documentarian. A psychotherapist and former journalist, Greason has long believed in the healing power of stories. She earned an undergraduate degree in communications and a master’s degree in counseling at Wake Forest University and a Ph.D. from UNC-Greensboro. She worked at the Winston-Salem Journal, at 88.5 WFDD, and as an executive at several Triad public relations firms before returning to school to pursue her degree in counseling. She currently works as the senior mental health counselor at the UNC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Counseling at Wake Forest University, and teaches yoga.
Paige Greason earned the Certificate in Documentary Arts at the Center for Documentary Studies in May 2011.
Read more about the spring 2011 Certificate in Documentary Arts graduates and their projects at cdsporch.org/archives/6828.