Actress Selma Blair has publicly addressed her struggles with multiple sclerosis for the first time since she revealed the diagnosis in October. Speaking with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, the Hellboy and Cruel Intentions star said that doctors had long dismissed her increasingly dire medical symptoms as her simply being “dramatic,” even as she grew progressively more afraid that she might actually be dying.
“I was giving it everything to seem normal,” she told Roberts, recalling the time before her diagnosis. “I was self-medicating when he [her son, Arthur, 7] wasn’t with me. I was drinking, I was in pain … And I was really struggling with ‘How am I going to get by in life?’ And not [being] taken seriously by doctors — just, ‘Single mother, you’re exhausted, financial burden, blah, blah, blah.’”
Asked how she reacted when she learned she had multiple sclerosis, Blair said she cried — not out of despair, but out of relief.
“I cried. I had tears,” she said. “They weren’t tears of panic. They were tears of knowing I now had to give in to a body that had lost control … And so when I got the diagnosis, I cried with some relief. Like, ‘Oh, good, I’ll be able to do something.’”
After reacting poorly to a high-dose glucocorticoid treatment, Blair has been forced to use a cane due to difficulty controlling her movements. When she speaks, there’s also an audible tremor to her voice. But according to her friend of 20 years, actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, Blair has also grown in wake of her diagnosis.
“There’s a calmness to her because I think now she knows she can’t do everything, and it’s O.K., some days, if she can’t,” Gellar told Vanity Fair. “It’s been wonderful to watch her be more settled, more content, and almost more in control of herself in a weird way.”
“There’s a humility and a joy I have now,” added Blair. “Albeit a fatigued joy.”
Watch Blair’s interview with Robin Roberts below:
Read more at Vanity Fair.