When It Comes to MS, Every Selma Deserves a Sarah
Not long ago, the MS community was amazed when Selma Blair announced that she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Her announcement was comforting to so many with the disease, myself included, because she was so very real about it. She continues to be honest and shows the real side of MS that few other public figures have; for that, most of us are extremely thankful. Someone who has the ability to reach a large audience and accurately portray this disease will always be welcomed. Indeed, more people have a better idea of what MS is than they used to because of her efforts. I’m actually not here to talk about Selma though; rather, I want to point out the fantastic efforts of her good friend Sarah Michelle Gellar, and what she means to so many of us with MS.
Friends and chronic illness
Following both of these ladies on social media, it’s clear they have an amazing friendship that is not just lasting, but even thriving, since Selma’s diagnosis. The topic of friends and chronic illness is a pretty big one. As even I’ve remarked, MS can turn friends into strangers and strangers into friends. Talk to most people who’ve had the disease for a while and they may mention the friends that they’ve seemingly lost because of it (though I prefer to think of it as the disease eliminating the fake friends). Friendships can be hard to maintain when one side has an illness like MS. Constantly canceling plans, being unable to do the same activities, having different concerns - the reasons abound when it comes to people no longer talking. Chronic illness is not easy on anyone, affecting not only the ones with the disease but those around us as well.
A thriving friendship is a beautiful sight
With friendships being hard to maintain because of chronic illness, it’s always pleasant to see a friendship thrive. Selma Blair and Sarah Michelle Gellar, longtime friends, haven’t missed a beat since Selma’s diagnosis. Yes, that’s how friendships are supposed to work, but it doesn’t always work that way, making this extremely refreshing. While I’m sure Sarah would say she isn’t doing anything special, I’d like to say that she is. Just as it’s important that people get to witness the reality of Selma Blair’s life with MS, so too is it important for people to see that she still has a good friend. One that will push her wheelchair if need be and go places with her. Someone who still treats her the same.
A reminder that there are good people out there
None of these actions may seem noteworthy at the surface, but for anyone that’s lost a friend due to their illness, it’s a reminder that there are good people out there. It’s also important for people that aren’t ill to see these things. Seeing them carry on their friendship despite illness helps normalize the situation. How many people with a sick friend will encourage them to go out and do things and offer to push their wheelchair because they saw Sarah Michelle Gellar do it? I’m sure quite a few. Little things like that are important, and they add up, even subconsciously.
Celebrities building awareness
There will always be a segment of folks that will say, oh, who cares about these “celebrities”. To which I want to say, I do, because they’re building awareness better than you or I ever could. That’s just a fact; that’s the world we live in. They can reach more people. The two of them being open and showing themselves, even when it’s not easy, is a good example for the world. It helps to show that it can be normal to push a friend in a wheelchair, it shows that even when someone is going through a rough time, good friends are still there. With MS, we often complain about the invisibility of our disease, and that invisibility gets shown a bit when people in a public spotlight talk about and show people the realities of life with the disease. So, I hope Selma and Sarah remain unafraid to show their friendship to the world, because everyone (with or without MS) needs to see more of that.
On an average day, how would you rate your level of anxiety related to multiple sclerosis?