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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.

Thanks so much for reading and always feel free to share!

Devin

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Comments

  • faith824
    2 weeks ago

    Hi,
    I’ve had MS for 10 years now. I say it hasn’t killed me but it definitely took away my life that I loved! Unable to work and now on disability, I just feel there is a huge difference between being able to afford to live with a chronic illness and not having the income to live well. At this point I’m very unhappy with my life. I cannot even afford to rent a suitable apartment because I do not meet income requirements. I weigh on average 83-85 pounds. I’m weak and my diet is poor and I also wear dentures due to long term use of Prednisone. I only wish more of us who battle any chronic illness, living alone on a lower income should have the ability to live without worry to live comfortably without worry of finances. It has definitely made living with MS more difficult for me. I am a widow since 2003. Family and friends fade away…slowly at first, then become distant. I had a dog, Grace for 12 years as my companion. She passed away on 9/10/18. I’m still heartbroken. I’m trying to decide now to leave the Cleveland, Ohio area for N. Carolina since rent is cheaper. I’d just be without my family. (No support system here anyway. ) and I refuse to live in low income apartments! Right now I’m living in a duplex with my son and grandson living on the other side. Only it’s not an ideal neighborhood and it’s 3 floors and needs totally remodeled. My furniture and other belongings are all in storage. I have not slept on a bed in over 2 years! I sleep in a recliner and sleep has become a burden. I’m up all night. Fatigue is horrible. I’m not on any disease modifying medications for my RRMS. That’s another story! If I ever get settled, I would like to write a book. Only mine wouldn’t be a “positive ” type of book, it would be REAL! I’m going on 60 years old. Would I want to die living like I am? Oh hell no! I’ve never been so unhappy since my diagnosis since I left my apartment 2 years ago. I just couldn’t afford $1,100 a month plus utilities any longer. Well, I wish you all well. I still hang on to my sense of humor, but when I’m totally alone, 90% of the time, I do wonder why God is letting me go on like I am? This is no way to live! I grew up near Youngstown, Ohio and that’s about 90 miles from here. I have no friends here.
    Thanks for reading.
    God Bless,
    Mary Ann Laihr
    faith824@aol.com.
    234-521-9248
    And yes, I’d be willing to fight to have income requirements, pet restrictions, etc. added to Americans with disabilities! I should be judged only on if I can afford to pay the rent!

  • messeeone
    2 weeks ago

    I just want to add that because of articles like Devin’s and websites like “Tripping on Air,” I’ve been able to share some well-written, important info with my own friends. Their deeper understanding of this disease keeps us close as friends (family, too!) Thank you both!

  • Devin Garlit moderator author
    2 weeks ago

    Thank you @messeeone! I’m very happy to hear that!

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