Selma Blair was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2018. The actress, who is currently in remission, told NBC’S Kristen Welker on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” that she presented symptoms of the condition for years before she received the diagnosis. She chalked up the long delay to “older male doctors who really probably did not know the intricacies of a girl.”
“And that, you know, everything does not need to be blamed on menstruation or something. Yes, that comes with its own bag of things to know about,” she added.
Blair said that the lack of a diagnosis contributed to her feeling that her symptoms were emotional in nature. She said, “I have prefrontal [brain] damage that would cause, you know, hysterical crying and laughing. And I just thought, ‘Wow, I’m just that wild one that wakes up in the middle of the night, like, waking myself up laughing hysterically, or sobbing, or in front of people just very moody maybe.”
“And – and I believed all these things,” she added. “And I was put on really strong antidepressants from a really young age. And I drank. I drank because I felt so other. I just went in the basement and I drank from a really young age.”
Blair shared her diagnosis on Instagram in 2018. She wrote in part, “I have #multiplesclerosis. I am in an exacerbation. By the grace of the lord, and willpower and the understanding producers at Netflix, I have a job. A wonderful job. 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. But we are doing it.”
She told Welker that, at the moment, she was “relieved” to finally be diagnosed. Blair said, “It took me until, like, another year to realize a lot of my childhood symptoms were MS. I thought, ‘Oh, all this poor feeling I had and this lethargy and this attitude, all of this has led to now I’ve given myself MS.’”
Welker thoughtfully asked Blair if she was angry about being diagnosed decades after she began showing symptoms at 7. The actress said, “Sometimes, but I don’t want to feel anger because I don’t want to feel blame. I don’t want to because – you know, because maybe I wasn’t ready to be diagnosed then.”
Blair recently traveled to the White House to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act, which paved the way for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act 17 years later. She told Welker there was a “vibrance in me” at the event, and “Having, you know, the most powerful man in the world, like, on your arm – you know, I’m on his arm. And I just thought, ‘Wow. Things have changed. And a lot of this is the help from the disability community.’”
The event was doubly special as Biden himself played a powerful role in the passage of both pieces of legislation, Blair noted. Her appearance at the event pushed her own message for lawmakers and allies to the disabled community.
As Blair said, “I want equity. I want justice. I want this community and all other marginalized ones too, of course, but the disability community is creative and strong and loyal and fun. And, I mean, really because they’re people that have had to figure out situations. And I really don’t do lip service. You really need to be with people with disabilities.”
Watch the entire interview with Selma Blair in the video above.