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When Selma Blair was diagnosed with MS, she broke down in tears. But they were tears of relief.

“I was giving it everything to seem normal.”

These are the words of acclaimed actress Selma Blair reflecting on the period of time before she was diagnosed with MS – the degenerative disease which affects the central nervous system.

She’d noticed something wasn’t right with her body for years – fifteen to be exact – but as a busy, working single mother, she couldn’t afford to slow down.

When she eventually sought advice for her symptoms, they were dismissed by medical professionals as merely over-exhaustion, an explanation which made her feel “ashamed”.

“I dropped my son off at school a mile away and before I got home, I’d have to pull over and take a nap and I was ashamed and I was doing the best I could and I was a great mother, but it was killing me,” she recalled on Good Morning America this week – her first interview since announcing her illness last year.


“I was dropping things. I was doing strange things… I was self-medicating when (my son) wasn’t with me. I was drinking. I was in pain.”

After years of fighting against her condition, her symptoms were finally “taken seriously” and she had answers.

The diagnosis of MS triggered a wave of relief. Finally, it made sense.

“I cried,” she shared. “They weren’t tears of panic. They were tears of knowing I now had to give in to a body that had loss of control and there was some relief in that,” the Cruel Intentions actress recalled.

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As it turns out, she’d been experiencing a flare-up of the disease ever since her seven-year-old son Arthur had been born.

Now, the mother-of-one is sharing what life looks like with the condition.

“I am very happy to see you, being able to just put out what being in the middle of an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis is like,” she told Good Morning America host Robin Roberts, adding that she has “spasmodic dysphonia” which has impacted her speech.

On telling Arthur of her condition, she recalled:

“He almost cried and said, ‘Will it kill you?’ I said, ‘No. I mean we never know what kills us, Arthur. This is not the doctor telling me I’m dying. Then he was like, ‘Oh, ok’,” she imitated.

In October last year, the 46-year-old actress shared a statement to Instagram revealing her condition.

 

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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. The brilliant costumer #Allisaswanson not only designs the pieces #harperglass will wear on this new #Netflix show , but she carefully gets my legs in my pants, pulls my tops over my head, buttons my coats and offers her shoulder to steady myself. I have #multiplesclerosis . I am in an exacerbation. By the grace of the lord, and will power 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. Since my diagnosis at ten thirty pm on The night of August 16, I have had love and support from my friends , especially @jaime_king @sarahmgellar @realfreddieprinze @tarasubkoff . My producers #noreenhalpern who assured me that everyone has something. #chrisregina #aaronmartin and every crew member… thank you. I am in the thick of it but I hope to give some hope to others. And even to myself. You can’t get help unless you ask. It can be overwhelming in the beginning. You want to sleep. You always want to sleep. So I don’t have answers. You see, I want to sleep. But I am a forthcoming person and I want my life to be full somehow. I want to play with my son again. 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. And the biggest thanks to @elizberkley who forced me to see her brother #drjasonberkley who gave me this diagnosis after finding lesions on that mri. 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. I have probably had this incurable disease for 15 years at least. And I am relieved to at least know. And share. ???? my instagram family… you know who you are.

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It wasn’t until she fell over in front of a doctor in August, trying to sort out what they thought was a pinched nerve, that the diagnosis came about.

“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,” she wrote in the moving post.

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This week, the star made her first public appearance since the announcement at the Oscars 2019 Vanity Fair after-party, custom cane in hand.

 

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There are moments that define us. This is one of those indelibly watermarked in my heart. This is #troynankin ; my former publicist turned manager , best friend , and fake husband. We joke. I have become a different woman in the last few years, through struggles and the intense pride of motherhood. @vanityfair has always been a champion of mine, like Troy. And yet, I have not fully realized my capabilities as an actress. I wanted to be at this red carpet to remember my first time attending with a not yet famous friend, @jakegyllenhaal . I believed in him and his career and wanted him there. And this dinner always symbolizes so much. And I kept going because it was always a night in hollywood that was full of hollywood dreams with all the talent present in their glory. I loved to watch. I was invited this year. I am featured in March issue . Thank you @radhikajones @kristasmith @samiranasr #juliemiller @cassblackbird . So this was a streak of light. To say I am here. I am still in an exacerbation so there was some nervousness. I don’t do anything the way I was once able. I will though. I can regain much. Mommas gotta work. And I will be able to do so much more on my own, But this man. Until that comes …This man and a host of others light the way and hold the moon @thetexastroya was a hero. Wanting me to shine brightly in a time that can be so challenging. He knew I wanted to be able to stand proudly as the woman I have become and hope to be. To be a part of something so special when my body won’t move clearly yet. And then I felt the love from the photographers who have watched me goof around on red carpets since I was in my twenties. I felt the warmth of the bulbs. The strength of my gown. His attentive touch. And still I hoped my brain could send signals for the remainder of my time there. And I sobbed. And I appreciated every single second. Every surprising tear, he was there. As he has always been. And that is the reason I could. Thank you Troy. We got me just where I wanted to be. For a night. And I later pushed my way into a family photo with @dianaross (omg) . So much to post but not before this one. True love. Right here. Forever.

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Wearing a pastel chiffon Ralph & Russo gown, featured a flowing cape, Blair told reporters on the night through tears: “It took a lot to come out here.”

Looking ahead, the star said she might experience improvements.

“[The doctor] said within a year, I could have, at the time he said, 90 per cent of my abilities back, so this is to say let’s meet again next year and see if I’m better,” Blair told Roberts. “If I’m not and I can still have a conversation, that’s good enough.”

For now, the actress says bringing awareness to the disease is her goal.

“I was a little scared of talking [in the 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.”

Adding with her signature humour; “But, I do because I love a camera.”

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