Selma Blair on her multiple sclerosis denial: ‘I was drinking. I was in pain’
The actor Selma Blair has given her first interview since being diagnosed with MS
Selma Blair at the Vanity Fair Oscars party in Beverly Hills, on February 24th. Photograph: Reuters/Danny Moloshok
Actress Selma Blair has given her first interview since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis late last year.
On Good Morning America, the 46-year-old actress told of how she cried upon being diagnosed with the condition, having experienced symptoms that went unexplained for years.
“They weren’t tears of panic,” she told host Robin Roberts. “They were tears of knowing I now had to give into a body that had loss of control.”
Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system, which can affect a person’s vision, balance and muscle control.
The actress, best known for roles in Legally Blonde and Hellboy, explained that she had been “in an MS flare-up” since her son was born but spent years not knowing what was causing her symptoms.
“I was giving it everything to seem normal, and I was self-medicating when he wasn’t with me,” she said. “I was drinking. I was in pain. I wasn’t always drinking but there were times when I couldn’t take it.”
“I was really struggling with, ‘How am I gonna get by in life?’ And [being] not taken seriously by doctors, just, ‘Single mother, you’re exhausted, financial burden, blah, blah, blah.’”
Blair recalled seeking advice from actor Michael J. Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1992, because she wondered if she, too, could have the condition.
“I said, ‘I don’t know who to tell, but I am dropping things. I’m doing strange things’,” Blair said. “He got in touch with me and we began conversations. He really helped me ... he gives me hope.”
The actress was eventually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last August after an MRI scan showed lesions on her brain.
She went public with her condition in October writing: “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.”
“I have probably had this incurable disease for 15 years at least. And I am relieved to at least know.”
Yesterday, she revealed that she has “an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis,” but stated that her prognosis was positive, with her doctor predicting she could regain up to 90 per cent of her abilities within 12 months of her diagnosis.
She added that she was “a little scared of talking” during her flare-up, but that her neurologist encouraged her to speak out and bring awareness to the disease, which affects an estimated 2.5 million people worldwide.
“No one has the energy to talk when they’re in flare-up,” the actress said. “But I do because I love a camera.”
She also spoke matter-of-factly about what how she deals with her most difficult days.
“I get in bed and I don’t move,” she said. “You just have to. You can’t do it all.
“It’s fine to feel really crappy and say, ‘I gotta.’ And my son gets it and now I’ve learned not to feel guilty.”
Earlier this week, Blair made her first public appearance since her diagnosis at the Vanity Fair Oscar party, walking the red carpet with a customised cane.
“There are moments that define us,” she wrote on Instagram alongside a red carpet photo. “This is one of those indelibly watermarked in my heart.”
“I don’t do anything the way I was once able,” she added. “I will though. I can regain much. Mommas gotta work. And I will be able to do so much more on my own.”