Selma Blair recently opened up about the gender bias she experienced from doctors before being finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
The actress said she’d suffered from extensive medical trauma regarding doctors dismissing her pain and other symptoms since childhood, mainly attributing it to menstruation.
Blair shared that she still experiences pain despite being in remission and said she used to battle the pain with alcohol as a child.
Selma Blair Reveals She Faced Medical Gender Bias
Blair got candid about the gender bias she experienced with numerous doctors before she finally received a multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis in 2018. The iconic actress has previously shared her mental health struggles, including feeling suicidal because of her health.
During a new interview with Kristen Welker, Blair shared some of the shocking things Doctors told her about coping with her pain. The “Legally Blonde” star said a doctor suggested that she get a boyfriend to help with the pain, which caused Blair to burst into tears because she “had no capability to process” the recommendation.
She added, per Daily Mail, “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.’”
She’s Had Medical Trauma Since Childhood
Blair spoke to Welker about the years of medical trauma experience she had before the MS diagnosis in 2018.
She said several doctors took “advantage of that time” or never really considered her symptoms, which is a trend that goes all the way back to her childhood.
The “Cruel Intentions” star said, “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.”
Blair recalled that despite complaining about headaches, fevers, and balance issues, she never got an MRI. According to the actress, many doctors just said she was either being dramatic or attributed her symptoms to menstruation.
She stated, “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.”
Selma Blair Used Alcohol As A Coping Mechanism
Blair also revealed that despite being in remission since 2021, she still experiences pain “every day.”
She explained how it happens, saying, “I have dystonia, also, that really doesn’t always flare up for entire conversations, but it’s almost like someone with a stutter maybe, or a type of Tourette’s. So things go in and out.”
The “Hell Boy” actress spoke about how she dealt with the pain before her diagnosis and how it almost led to her self-destruction. In her memoir, “Mean Baby,” Blair said she started sipping alcohol as a child to help with her anxiety and pain. She revealed that her first time being drunk was at seven years old, and she quickly became a child alcoholic.
At the time of her book release, she spoke to People Magazine about how alcohol helped her. She said, “I don’t know if I would’ve survived childhood without alcoholism. That’s why it’s such a problem for a lot of people. It really is a huge comfort, a huge relief in the beginning.”
It Affected Her Entry Into Motherhood
Blair has been very open about how MS affected her journey into motherhood. The actress has a 12-year-old son, Arthur, with ex-boyfriend Jason Bleick.
During a November 2023 interview with Glamour Magazine, she revealed that MS changed things from a “blissful pregnancy to utter devastation” when she gave birth.
She said, “The MS flared very obviously, when I was in labor. My body started going through distress as bodies can, and, of course, I didn’t know I had it. And so the moment Arthur was born, I went from this kind of blissful pregnancy to utter devastation.”
Blair explained that being a new mother and dealing with the MS flare-up was extremely difficult. She said, “So even though I’m sociable and friendly, I’m alone for everything. And this child automatically became my biggest responsibility, my biggest love, but it was a very, very hard adjustment for me. Very hard.”