What Selma Blair's Announcement Means To Me
If you have Multiple Sclerosis, you’ve likely heard that this past weekend, actress Selma Blair announced via Instagram that she has been diagnosed with the chronic, incurable illness. While not everyone in the MS community will recognize her, Selma is close to my age and starred in some of my all-time favorite movies (Cruel Intentions, Hellboy, Legally Blonde, etc.). I even confess to having a bit of a crush on her when I was younger, so her announcement may have a greater impact on me than others in our community. I know there will probably be a lot of reaction pieces to her “coming out”; nevertheless, I thought I’d throw my feelings on the matter out there.
She described MS almost perfectly
Selma made her announcement on Instagram, explaining that, like many of us, she had symptoms long before she was diagnosed. She described MS almost perfectly to me: “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.” She goes on to talk about her struggles and about needing and asking for help. Her post contains so many small, yet perfect descriptors of what life with MS is like, and I encourage everyone to go read it. From “always wanting to sleep” to how long it would take her to pick up things that she’s dropped, she says so many things that will mean something to people with MS, and that others simply won’t get.
Someone else "gets it"
Her honesty, her vulnerability, and her courage are on display in her announcement and all of those qualities are to be applauded. I hope she understands how much this one Instagram post has helped people. Not only has it helped raise awareness of our illness (and you can be sure, many people will now learn something about this disease that they never knew because of it; people will Google, people may even donate more to research because of it), but it also said to so many people like us, that we aren’t alone. That someone else “gets it”. Of all of the issues that those of us with MS suffer, knowing that someone else understands what our lives are like is a big one.
Her words could have easily been mine
While you’d never wish this upon anyone, the comfort of knowing that someone else has been in your shoes creates an incredible bond. For a disease that leaves so many feeling alone, her announcement, particularly with how detailed it was, has helped a lot of people. When I read her post, Selma Blair ceased being a famous actress to me, she was me. Her words could have easily been mine. As I read it, I wasn’t alone. That, to me, was better than any treatment I’ve ever had. It’s something I will remember on the hard days, when I can’t get out of bed, when I fall and have trouble getting up, when I sit there in pain. I’ll know that there is one more person out there that “gets it”, and I can’t explain why, but that’s incredibly comforting. So thank you Selma, so much, for having the courage to speak up.
(By the way, yes, I’ve covered this kind of thing before. When Jamie-Lynn Sigler announced that she had MS, I was asked to give my thoughts on the pros and cons of a celebrity coming out, you can read that here.)
Do you ever experience sciatica (pain that travels along the path of the sciatic nerve meaning the lower back, buttocks, hips, and legs)?