Selma Blair Reveals MS Diagnosis After 15 Years: 'I Was Never Taken Seriously'

by Cassandra Stone
Image via Rachel Murray / Stringer

Selma Blair says she’s ‘relieved’ to finally have a diagnosis

Actress Selma Blair is revealing she has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in an emotional Instagram post. She also says she’s been suffering from pain and symptoms for 15 years “at least” — but that her pain was never taken seriously.

“I have #multiplesclerosis. I am in an exacerbation,” she writes. “By the grace of the lord, and willpower and the understanding producers at Netflix, I have a job. A wonderful job. 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. But we are doing it. And I laugh and I don’t know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best.”

In the post, she thanks her friends Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jaimie King, and Freddie Prinze Jr. for their support. She says she decided to come forward because she’s “forthcoming person” and wants to let other people with MS know they’re not alone. “I am in the thick of it but I hope to give some hope to others,” she writes. “And even to myself. You can’t get help unless you ask. It can be overwhelming in the beginning.”

The cause of MS is still unknown – scientists believe the disease is triggered by an as-yet-unidentified environmental factor in a person who is genetically predisposed to respond. According to the National MS Society, multiple sclerosis involves an immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.

Blair, mom to 7-year-old son Arthur, says she just wants to enjoy normal, everyday things many of us take for granted. “I want to play with my son again,” she says. “I want to walk down the street and ride my horse. I have MS and I am ok. But if you see me, dropping crap all over the street, feel free to help me pick it up. It takes a whole day for me alone. Thank you and may we all know good days amongst the challenges.”

Perhaps the most heartbreaking part of Blair’s post is the part where she says after over a decade of pain and symptoms and doctor visits, she was “finally” diagnosed this summer by Dr. Jason Berkley. “I have had symptoms for years but was never taken seriously until I fell down in front of him trying to sort out what I thought was a pinched nerve,” she says. “I have probably had this incurable disease for 15 years at least. And I am relieved to at least know.”

Misogyny in women’s healthcare is rampant. A 2011 report on chronic pain from the Institute of Medicine found that women were more likely to suffer from pain than men and had a higher tolerance for it. But in all cases, their pain was more likely to be minimized by health professionals.

People on Twitter reacted to Blair’s post with messages of support and disappointment that it took her so long to get her diagnosis. Many people shared their own frustrations with women’s healthcare.

For her part, Blair is doing her best and still working on her Netflix show, where the wardrobe staff is making accommodations to her fittings. “I was in this wardrobe fitting two days ago. And I am in the deepest gratitude. So profound, it is, I have decided to share.”