Selma Blair Shares Her Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis

October 22, 2018

On Saturday, Selma Blair announced that she’s been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis via a heartfelt Instagram post. The 46-year-old actress learned she had the incurable disease of the central nervous system in August, but felt compelled to share the news after a “profound” experience during her wardrobe fitting for the Netflix sci-fi drama series Another Life.

Blair wrote with gratitude about the costume designer, “[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.”

Cast in a recurring role alongside Katee Sackhoff, Blair is set to play Harper Glass, a media influencer who follows a crew of astronauts searching for the genesis of alien life.

“By the grace of the lord, and willpower and the understanding producers at Netflix, I have a job. A wonderful job,” Blair continued. “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.”

The Mom and Dad star stated she’s suffered from symptoms for years without knowing the cause. And she believes she’s likely had MS for over 15 years. Grateful for all the love and support she’s received from her friends and colleagues since sharing the news, Blair hopes to be an inspiration to others–and she’s reminding people just how important it is to seek medical help when needed. Indeed, Blair gives her biggest shout out to her friend, Eliz Berkley, who forced her to visit a doctor.

Approximately 350,000 people in the United States suffer from MS. The condition affects the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord, and it usually strikes teens and young adults between the ages of 15 and 40. However, women are three times as likely to develop MS than men. And although there are no known cures for the disease, early diagnosis can prevent the progression of damage to the body such as halting total vision loss and paralysis.

The following 9 signs and symptoms are associated with MS:

  1. Numbness in areas such as arms, legs, the face, and fingers. It can also reveal itself as an electrical shock-like feeling when a person moves his or her neck.
  2. Vision problems like blurred vision, pain, double vision, or color blindness are among the most common symptoms of MS.
  3. Cognitive impairment strikes about half of MS patients. This includes memory loss, disorganization, inability to focus, and severely reduced attention spans. It’s not associated with a loss of intellect.
  4. Bladder and bowel issues like incontinence, urinary urgency, or constipation often appear in the early stages of the disease.
  5. Muscle Spasms, chronic pain stemming from the back and leg muscles, stiffness, and jerky motions are associated with the disorder. Tremors occur in about half of all MS patients.
  6. Dizziness or lightheadedness can affect coordination, balance, and a person’s ability to stand up and walk.
  7. Depression can set in as a result of any pain associated with MS as well as the overall stress of gradually losing one’s ability to control his or her body.
  8. Fatigue and exhaustion strike most MS patients. The tired feeling often starts in the legs, but fatigue might occur during a workout due to heart-related problems.
  9. Speech difficulties like pausing between words or slurred speech can emerge.

Blair joins a list of actors also diagnosed with MS including Rachel Miner from The CW Network series Supernatural, The Sopranos star Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and legendary comedian Richard Pryor.

“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,” Blair wrote. “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.”

Selma Blair’s Recent Loss of Control

June 23, 2016

The passengers on a Delta flight from Cancun, Mexico to LAX Monday got a fright when Selma Blair apparently had a mid-air meltdown reportedly due to mixing wine and prescription medication. The Cruel Intentions, Hellboy, and Legally Blonde actress has worked steadily in Hollywood for the better part of twenty years, but the past few days have probably been the most trying of her career. TMZ reported that Blair was crying and mumbling incoherently, “He burns my private parts,” and “He beats me. He’s going to kill me.” And in a serious and potentially tragic turn of events, Blair was reportedly accompanied by her son Arthur, as well as Arthur’s dad and Selma’s ex-beau, Jason Bleick. Thankfully, the event ended without incident. Although she was taken off the plane on a stretcher, Selma was cleared to leave the hospital the following day. But one can imagine how things could have turned out differently–and possibly very badly–especially with a young boy involved.

It remains to be seen how this might affect Selma’s career as well as future opportunities being film production insurance can be very expensive and even Draconian–just ask Charlie Sheen! But it is refreshing, and most likely helpful, Ms. Blair came out with a heartfelt and gracious apology the day after the incident, writing, “I take this very seriously, and I apologize to all of the passengers and crew that I disturbed and am thankful to all of the people who helped me in the aftermath. I am a flawed human being who makes mistakes and am filled with shame over this incident. I am truly very sorry.” Selma could have very easily cited dehydration and/or exhaustion as seems to be customary in similar situations, but instead she attributed the “big mistake” to mixing alcohol with medication.

All of this sturm und drang may not seem applicable to a struggling actor or actress fighting through traffic trying to get to a commercial callback, but not taking note of a situation like this would be a mistake. Everyone in this town is just one project away from success. One role can change your life, and everything you do at that point could be scrutinized heavily. And such a situation might just be peachy for someone who’s lived on apples and raisins for the last year, but public criticism and scorn can be potentially lethal to a career.

It might be a good exercise to picture yourself as an A-lister (not a bad exercise, eh?) and think of the things that might mitigate your growth and perhaps put you in a compromising position. And then assess whether you need those things in your life or if you might want to lose them. Be it alcohol, drugs, dodgy relationships, unsupportive friends, embarrassing photos on your Facebook page, this is your shot and your stated mission in life; don’t let anything drag you down!