Selma Blair’s MS Symptoms Were Initially ‘Blamed on Menstruation’
Selma Blair's doctors blamed her health problems on menstruation.
The Cruel Intentions star was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2018 but she had been experiencing symptoms from childhood and she has spoken of her frustration at repeatedly not being taken seriously by medics, which she believes was in part due to gender bias.
Speaking to Kristen Welker on Meet the Press, Selma admitted she had "so much medical trauma" due to doctors “taking advantage of that time” or “really just not seeing” her.
She added: “And it was a gender bias, a lot of it, because there would be a boy in my grade that would go in for the exact same chronic headache and fever, and he is in surgery and an MRI within the week.
“But they just said, ‘Oh, just [being] dramatic,’ you know? ... I think primarily when I was young ... they were all older male doctors who probably did not know the intricacies of a girl and that everything does not need to be blamed on menstruation.”
The 51-year-old actress previously revealed doctors had told her she "might feel better" if she got a boyfriend, and she admitted she "cried" in frustration afterwards.
Asked how she responded to the suggestion, she said: “I just cried. I had no capability to process. ‘What am I supposed to do with this information?’ I knew the pain was real. I thought it was. But I did start to convince myself, ‘You’re overly sensitive. There’s nothing wrong with you. Get it together, you lazy, lazy whatever.’”
Selma's lack of diagnosis left her feeling her symptoms were emotional.
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 I believed all these things. 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.”
When she finally received her diagnosis, the Legally Blonde actress was "relieved."
She added: “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.’”
But Selma tries not to feel angry that she had to wait decades for her diagnosis.
Asked if she feels angry, she 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.”