Selma Blair has shared her experience of how “older male doctors” overlooked her initial symptoms of multiple sclerosis, recommending that she seek a boyfriend to assist with the pain.
During an interview with Kristen Welker on Meet The Press, the 51-year-old Cruel Intentions star discussed how her multiple sclerosis (MS) remained undiagnosed for years. Blair revealed that her early MS symptoms were initially dismissed by doctors who attributed them to menstrual issues.
“Everything does not need to be blamed on menstruation or something,” she remarked, highlighting that the extended delay in her diagnosis was probably a result of “older male doctors who really probably did not know the intricacies of a girl.”
During her quest for assistance with chronic pain, one healthcare professional even suggested to Blair that perhaps she “needed a boyfriend,” the actress revealed.
“I just cried,” Blair responded when asked about her reaction to the doctor’s suggestion. “I had no capability to process: ‘What am I supposed to do with this information?’ I knew the pain was real. I thought it was. But I did start to convince myself: ‘You’re overly sensitive. There’s nothing wrong with you. Get it together, you lazy, lazy whatever.’”
Selma Blair recalls a doctor telling her to get a boyfriend to help with chronic pain:
“I just cried. I just cried. I had no capability to process. What am I supposed to do with this information?” pic.twitter.com/I7lFZxlzsz
— Buzzing Pop (@BuzzingPop) November 28, 2023
The actor from Legally Blonde elaborated on how she started experiencing symptoms of MS as early as the age of seven. “There is a prodromal period so I’m not certain that it actually was full on,” Blair explained to Welker. “I had very clear signs at that time. I had optical neuritis as a child, which really is only from brain trauma or MS, and yet they didn’t recognise it even though I was seeking doctors my entire childhood.”
Blair acknowledged that she’s experienced “so much medical trauma” because doctors either “took advantage of that time” or “really just not seeing me” while she was seeking a diagnosis for her chronic health condition. “I’ve been advocating for myself for a long time, trying to find what was ailing me, why I was not able to keep up with anyone really my entire life,” she expressed.
The author of Mean Baby acknowledged that a significant portion of her misdiagnosis is linked to “gender bias” in the field of medicine. She recounted an incident where a boy in her class was encountering “the exact same chronic headache and fever” and he underwent “surgery and an MRI within the week”.
“But they just said: ‘Oh, [you’re] just dramatic,’ you know?” Blair narrated.
Although acknowledging that MS symptoms are “different for everyone”, the actor detailed how she initially encountered symptoms that appeared to be “disguised as emotional” mood swings. “I have prefrontal damage that would cause hysterical crying and laughing,” Blair elucidated. “I just thought: ‘Wow, I’m just that wild one that wakes up in the middle of the night, like, waking myself up laughing hysterically, or sobbing, or in front of people just very moody maybe.”
“And I believed all these things,” she added. “I was put on really strong antidepressants from a really young age. And I drank. I drank because I felt so other. I just went in the basement and I drank from a really young age.”
In October 2018, Blair openly disclosed that she had received a diagnosis of MS—a condition that impacts the central nervous system, interrupting the transmission of information within the brain and between the brain and body, as explained by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Subsequently, she has provided a more profound understanding of her health challenges in the Discovery+ documentary titled Introducing, Selma Blair. Released in 2021, the film chronicles Blair’s journey through a high-stakes stem cell transplant as a treatment for the disease. In August of the same year, Blair disclosed that she had achieved remission after the stem cell transplant.
Source: The Independent