Today I’m standing for women – and, in particular, actress Selma Blair
Until very recently, there has never been a celebrity who has shown us what it is truly like to have multiple sclerosis – warts and all. In the past, talk-show host Montel Williams and reality show star Jack Osbourne have disclosed they have the disease, but the image they show to the world has been carefully curated.
Then along came Selma Blair.
Last October, the Hollywood actress announced she had been diagnosed with the disease when she posted on her Instagram account: “I have MS and I am OK… I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken gps.”
To me it was so riveting and powerful – not because Blair was so candid about the disease – but because she was in the midst of a relapse and not afraid to show it. Her voice was shaky (thanks to the MS symptom of spasmodic dysphonia (https://www.verywellhealth.com/dysphonia-and-ms-2440867), and she needed a cane to walk. But by being so open, she was showing millions of viewers that the MS community – and others with disabling conditions – should not be seen as invisible.
Blair admits it was not an easy choice to come forward. “I was a little scared of talking [in this Good Morning America interview,] and even my neurologist said no, this will bring a lot of awareness because no one has the energy to talk when they’re in a flare-up.”
The actress, who has starred in Hollywood blockbuster’s for more than two decades, also wants to use her public platform to urge more people to speak candidly about their medical issues, so they can received appropriate care as soon as possible.
Blair said the diagnosis of MS came as a relief after years of puzzling symptoms – fatigue, numbness, pain – that often were dismissed by doctors. “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.
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.
By Rachel Horne