Selma Blair has opened up about her battle with Multiple Sclerosis, including her relief in finally being given an answer to questions about her years of chronic pain.
The 46-year-old actress has recalled the moment she was told she had MS after spending years living “in pain” with an undiagnosed condition that doctors simply passed off as the result of her being an “exhausted single mother”.
“I cried, I had tears. 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,” she revealed to Robin Roberts on Good Morning America.
“And there was some relief in that. ‘Cause ever since my son was born, I was in an MS flare-up and didn’t know, and I was giving it everything to seem normal.”
Her struggle with constant pain involved self-medicating as well as heavy drinking.
“I was self-medicating when [Arthur] 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. And I was really struggling with how I am going to get by in life.”
Selma’s years-long struggle with an “undiagnosed chronic illness” came after she asked multiple doctors for help, but they all refused to “take her seriously”.
The actress, who first revealed her MS diagnosis in October, told the GMA anchor that she was so tired that she struggled to stay awake in between dropped her son off at school.
“I got to the point where I said, ‘I need to go to work and I have to stay awake.’ I would drop my son off at school a mile away, and before I got home I would have to pull over and take a nap,” she said.
“And I was ashamed, and I was doing the best I could. And I was a great mother, but it was killing me.”
After thinking she was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease – a neurodegenerative disorder – the actress contacted Michael J. Fox who has been suffering from the disease since 1991.
“I said, ‘I don’t know who to tell but I’m dropping things… I’m doing strange things,'” Selma emailed the actor.
“He got in touch with me, and we began a conversation. So he really helped me. Plus I have Michael J. Fox’s email now, like I’m pretty cool, I’m cooler than I thought!
“But really he gives me hope.”
During the interview, Selma explained that she was suffering a ‘flare-up’ of her ‘aggressive’ multiple sclerosis. This particularly impacted her speech, with the actress explaining that she was suffering spasmodic dysphonia from the outbreak, resulting in the muscles which generate the voice to go into spasm, resulting in shaking and stilted speech.
While Selma admitted that the worsening of her symptoms made her ‘scared’ to speak on camera, she believes that her appearance on the show (and at the Vanity Fair Oscars party) will raise awareness around the disease, and help others understand what life is like for sufferers.
However, her diagnosis has not stopped her from working, and she was recently cast in the upcoming Netflix series ‘Another Life’.
She also has appeared in two movies that are in post-production, ‘After’ and ‘The Great Illusion’.