Selma Blair Says Doctor Said to ‘Get a Boyfriend’ Amid MS Treatment

Selma Blair Says Doctor Said to ‘Get a Boyfriend’ Amid MS Treatment

Selma Blair is opening up about the gender bias she faced prior to being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). 

Blair, who was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease in 2018 and has been in remission since 2021, recalled her struggles with unbearable pain and the dismissive attitudes of doctors toward her symptoms.

During a recent interview with Meet the Press‘ Kristen Welker, Blair recounted a particularly distressing moment when a doctor suggested that her symptoms might improve if she simply got a boyfriend. 

“I just cried,” Blair recalled, expressing her frustration at not being taken seriously. “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 revealed that she had experienced symptoms since her childhood but faced gender bias in healthcare, leading to her symptoms being dismissed for years. She highlighted the stark contrast in the treatment she received compared to a male peer with similar symptoms. 

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

The actress emphasized the impact of the dismissive treatment on her mental health, stating that she now carries “so much medical trauma” from those early experiences. However, Blair expressed relief when she was finally diagnosed with MS in 2018, as it provided an explanation for her symptoms.

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

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Blair took the opportunity to send a message to medical professionals, urging them to listen to patients reporting chronic symptoms. “I really wish they would listen,” she emphasized, highlighting the need for doctors to take women’s health concerns seriously. “Nothing was taken seriously.”

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

As of now, Blair is in remission and described it as a “safe place to be.” She shared that she is “doing better every day” and continues to navigate life with MS.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Glamour

In an interview with Glamour for its 2023 Women of the Year honorees issue, Blair conjured up a “bad relationship” when discussing getting back in the dating scene. According to the magazine, Blair hasn’t dated since she was first diagnosed with MS back in August 2018, though she waited until October of that year to disclose the diagnosis. Blair also shared that she “probably had this incurable disease for 15 years at least.”

Fast-forward to now, Blair says she’s started to feel ready for romance, though she knows her diagnosis presents added challenges to an already complicated world called dating.

“I think the disability word, because I said I was — it just confuses people,” she told the magazine. “Like, as if I don’t have a vagina.”

“What [being in love] does for your spirit — it’s nothing to take lightly,” she said. “It colors everything. I still believe if I’m just true to myself, that person will come into my life one day. … I think I deserve it and think I’m in a great place to show up as the best version of me. It’s the first time I have hope. And I could have never said that in my life before.”

Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Earlier this month, Blair shared a health update with ET amid her battle with multiple sclerosis.

“My health is good. I’ve been in remission since I had a bone marrow transplant to stop the progression of the MS, that had been, for really many, many years, burning,” she said.

“So it took awhile to recover,” she added of the procedure, which she underwent in 2021. “But I am feeling really, really much stronger now and building stamina.”

The actress added that “everything is good” with regard to her health, and she’s focusing her time and efforts on helping others.

“It’s been a really lovely journey in this second part of my life, of finding [my] community and realizing that nothing feels as good as helping to be a megaphone for other people,” Blair shared.


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