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Selma Blair 'Cried' After Doctor Suggested She Get a Boyfriend While Seeking Help for 'Unbearable' MS Pain

The actress says she has “so much medical trauma” after her symptoms were dismissed for years prior to being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2018

Chloe Gifkins Selma Blair photographed while attending the Hamptons International Film Festival
Chloe Gifkins Selma Blair photographed while attending the Hamptons International Film Festival

Selma Blair is opening up about the gender bias she says she experienced prior to being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

The 51-year-old actress — who was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease in 2018 and has been in remission since 2021 — recently appeared on “Meet the Press” and spoke to moderator Kristen Welker about her MS journey.

The Cruel Intentions star detailed years of "unbearable pain" and her MS symptoms being dismissed by doctors before her diagnosis, recalling the moment one doctor suggested she just needed to get a boyfriend.

“I just cried,” Blair remembered of her reaction at that moment. “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.’ ”

Blair said she has “so much medical trauma” now because of the way she was treated early on, sharing that she was dealing with symptoms since her childhood but was a victim of gender bias in healthcare.

“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,” she explained. “I was never given an MRI even though I always had headaches and fevers and balance [problems]. But they just said, ‘Oh, just dramatic.’ ”

Getty Selma Blair posing for a photograph at an 'Introducing, Selma Blair' event
Getty Selma Blair posing for a photograph at an 'Introducing, Selma Blair' event

Related: Selma Blair Says She’s 'Great' with Her MS in Remission, But Managing Symptoms Still Gets 'Hard' (Exclusive)

Because her symptoms were brushed off for years, Blair said getting diagnosed with MS in 2018 gave her a sense of relief.

“I was relieved I finally had something that could be understood and treated,” she said on the show.

The actress also shared a message to medical professionals who are dealing with patients coming in for chronic symptoms.

“I really wish they would listen,” she said, adding that “nothing was taken seriously.”

“I want doctors to listen, keep things in mind. And why so afraid of an MRI on a woman?” she added

Today, Blair said she’s in still in remission, “which is a safe place to be.”

“I’m doing better every day,” she said.

<p>Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images</p> Selma Blair photographed in New York City on Nov. 7, 2023

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Selma Blair photographed in New York City on Nov. 7, 2023

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Last month, Blair admitted that she’s been feeling “great” despite some of the challenges she still faces while living with MS.

“Everything's great. I am still in remission,” Blair told PEOPLE. “I do have things that will probably always be with me, dystonia and things that come and go that are a real phenomenon. But neurology is an interesting thing and it's fascinating to me.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, dystonia is a neurological movement disorder seen in MS that's characterized by involuntary muscle contractions that cause slow repetitive movements or abnormal postures that can sometimes be painful.

“I do get tired,” Blair adds. “That's the thing. It is hard. So we do have to remember to build in a rest day…because if mama goes down then we're down for a minute. But when I'm up, I'm doing it and I'm happy. I'm really happy.” 

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