Actress, MS activist
While in the past she may have been most comfortable portraying someone else’s life on screen, these days it’s Selma Blair’s own health journey that has launched her latest role of unofficial advocate for the multiple sclerosis community. Diagnosed with the chronic autoimmune disease last October after seeking treatment for a pinched nerve, Blair has been heartbreakingly honest about her diagnosis and struggles with relapses surfacing in the way of blurred vision, difficulty with balance and coordination and speech issues, all of which the star has documented in candid posts on her Instagram account to help raise awareness of this often-misunderstood disease.
Blair said she felt compelled to speak out about her diagnosis in the hopes of dispelling some of the myths often attributed to those with MS. “I care about the people on my damn Instagram,” she told Vanity Fair. “For me, it has been an exploration into the human condition.”
In studies published in the Journal of Neurology, it was estimated that nearly 1 million people in the U.S. have MS, yet Blair said she found that many people were under the gross misconception that people with MS cannot function in their everyday lives – a falsity she hopes to correct by using her platform to give a voice to an overlooked community of people.
Reactions to Blair’s social media messaging from those battling MS have been incredibly positive, with one user noting that what she’s doing “shines a light on MS, and shines a light on what it is and who is affected by it.” Blair said she has been overwhelmed and gratified by the outpouring of support she’s received from family and friends as well as the MS community, telling People magazine, “It’s the strangest thing that at a time that could be the most stressful, I am feeling the most joy. I think it’s because I’ve learned more than ever that there are people that support me, that love me.”