Selma Blair feared doctors would think she was being ‘dramatic’ about symptoms before MS diagnosis

'There’s a need for honesty about being disabled from someone recognisable'

Sabrina Barr
Wednesday 27 February 2019 14:21
Selma Blair gives first interview since MS diagnosis: 'Not taken seriously by doctors, single mother you're exhausted'

Selma Blair was worried that she'd be described as "dramatic" by doctors before she was informed of her multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis, the actor has said.

In October 2018, Blair revealed she'd been diagnosed with MS two months prior, a chronic condition that can affect the brain and spinal cord.

Despite having experienced symptoms including neck pain, loss of sensation in her legs, severe vertigo and anxiety for several years, the actor believed a medical professional wouldn't take her seriously if she voiced her concerns, she tells Vanity Fair.

A number of doctors had previously attributed her symptoms to depression or hormones, or simply being "dramatic" as an actor, the 46-year-old claims.

Eventually, Blair met a doctor who advised that she have an MRI scan as soon as possible. An hour later, the actor was informed she had MS.

Blair initially felt "relief" over the discovery, as she was able to finally understand why she'd been experiencing years of pain.

The actor now wants to use her public platform to urge more people to speak candidly about their medical issues, so they can receive appropriate care as soon as possible.

“With my previous doctor, I put on a good face, because he was a man. We had a joking relationship. I wanted him to think I was doing well, even though I would say, ‘I’m beyond tired.… I can’t stay awake.’ I wish he would’ve taken me more seriously,” the Cruel Intentions star says.

“I had been so embarrassed by some events in my life, whether it was drinking or immature behavior, that, as a mother, I wanted to prove I was great even when I was telling someone I had problems. That’s a shame. So, I’d like to counterbalance it by being really honest about how I am.”

The positive responses Blair has received on social media after revealing her diagnosis has made her realise how important it is to encourage open conversations about disability.

“I’m pretty much a nobody in Hollywood. But when I read comments on Instagram from people who were suffering, whether it was from MS, or anything, I thought, 'holy s***', there’s a need for honesty about being disabled from someone recognisable," she states.

“An actor I admire said Instagram could have been a great experiment for the human condition, but instead it’s curated narcissism. And, yes, there’s some of that. But for me, it has been an exploration into the human condition.”

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On Sunday 24 February, Blair made her first red carpet appearance since revealing her MS diagnosis at the Vanity Fair Oscars afterparty.

The actor posed for photographers in an ethereal Ralph and Russo gown, with a matching sheer cape and a personalised cane.

Two days later, Good Morning America aired Blair's first interview after announcing her diagnosis.

The Legally Blonde star told broadcaster Robin Roberts that she had been "giving it everything to seem normal".

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