Interviews / Mental Health / Movies

Jillian Shea Spaeder Illuminates Life with an Eating Disorder in “The Noise”

We all remember how time throughout lockdown seemed to crawl. Simultaneously, it allowed many people to explore interests that they had never considered. Jillian Shea Spaeder discovered a love of filmmaking. “During the pandemic, I got super bored of not being on set acting,” she says. “With all my spare time, I started making my own projects. I fell in love with that process and decided to keep doing it forever! I like being able to tell stories in whatever way I can.” Her new short, The Noise, deals with an intensely personal topic. “The Noise is about the reality of eating disorders. Instead of focusing on the character’s body, we focus on the isolation the disorder causes internally. I am hoping the project can enlighten people on what it means to have an eating disorder.” Jillian felt empowered having complete creative autonomy. She was able to watch her idea transform into art. “It is stressful being the person in charge, especially when the topic is delicate and you care about it so much. But it was incredibly cool getting to watch it come to life and be able to voice my opinions.” The film directly reflects her relationship with eating disorders. That level of vulnerability can be daunting, but Jillian was resolved in her commitment to show others they are not alone. “I struggled with anorexia for a while. I wrote The Noise while I was going through treatment for it. Sharing my experience publicly has been quite scary, but if it helps even one person, it is worth it to me!”

The Noise is a reference to the withering and corrosive internal monologue around food that the main character must withstand. That unwelcome chatter saps all her energy and renders her withdrawn. Jillian drew on her own experiences to convey the chaos. “In my case, my eating disorder made my brain super busy all the time. It felt like there was a large group of bullies inside my brain screaming at me all the time, haha! People would be confused as to why I had trouble focusing or going out. But no one knew what was happening in my mind all of the time. This creates major isolation for people struggling with mental health. I created The Noise to explain and show that to people.” Ideally, the short will become an incentive for recovery. A better life could be a conversation away. “I hope viewers struggling with eating disorders get the motivation to ask for help. Maybe this could even serve as a video to explain their experience.”

On a more playful note, Jillian approaches unpleasant moments with flexibility via her music. Laughing makes any circumstance more bearable. “My new single, ‘XY,’ is quite the opposite energy of my short! It is a fun breakup song about regretting a past relationship. It was my way of trying to make rough situations lighthearted!” She has more tunes in the pipeline as well! Keep an eye out for her upcoming EP. “‘Fall At My Feet’ will be released on May 17th. It is a six song EP. It mostly touches on self-love, breakups, and trying to move away from toxicity!” Joy is perpetually the antidote to negativity.

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Jillian Shea Spaeder Illuminates Life with an Eating Disorder in “The Noise.” Photo Credit: Grace Wethor.

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