"I have multiple sclerosis."
With three powerful words, actress Selma Blair took to Instagram this weekend to reveal what may be her greatest challenge to date, a monumental struggle with this debilitating disease. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, multiple sclerosis (MS) is an "unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body."
But what's most amazing about Blair's extremely raw and moving narrative isn't her focus on the disease. It's the unbreakable, positive spirit that shines through.
In short, it's a masterpiece of emotional intelligence.
Here are three reasons why Blair's Instagram post is so powerful:
1. It's deeply authentic.
Blair begins by expressing heartfelt appreciation to costume designer Alissa Swanson, who Blair says not only designs the pieces she will wear on her Netflix show Another Life, but also "carefully gets my legs in my pants, pulls my tops over my head, buttons my coats and offers her shoulder to steady myself."
"I am disabled," continues Blair, frankly. "I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken GPS. But we are doing it."
Blair admits that she doesn't always have the answers, and that's scary. But being scared is part of being human. The key is to face those fears with courage and the help of others, and that's exactly what Blair does.
2. It focuses on the positive.
Besides thanking Swanson, Blair also expressed appreciation for:
- the understanding producers at Netflix
- her "wonderful job" and colleagues (including "every crew member")
- the love and support of her friends
- her instagram family
- actress Elizabeth Berkley and her brother Dr. Jason Berkley (Elizabeth referred Blair to her brother, who diagnosed her with MS)
- the grace of God
In addition, throughout all the challenges, Blair continues to keep a sense of humor. "I laugh and I don't know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best," she writes.
And while it's challenging to find humor and praise others in difficult situations, doing so is one of the best ways to cope.
3. It's inspiring.
One of the most praiseworthy things about Blair's words are their power to help.
"I am in the thick of it but I hope to give some hope to others," Blair writes. "Thank you and may we all know good days amongst the challenges."
I personally don't have MS, but I was recently diagnosed with some major health issues. And one of the things that has been most helpful to me is hearing the experience of others--because it helps me to know that others are fighting this same battle.
So, kudos to Ms. Blair for her authenticity, her positivity, and her encouraging words. May they inspire others who face daily battles with serious illness...
By helping them to see that they are not alone.
Here's Blair's full message:
I was in this wardrobe fitting two days ago. And I am in the deepest gratitude. So profound, it is, I have decided to share. The brilliant costumer #Allisaswanson not only designs the pieces #harperglass will wear on this new #Netflix show , but she carefully gets my legs in my pants, pulls my tops over my head, buttons my coats and offers her shoulder to steady myself.
I have #multiplesclerosis. I am in an exacerbation. By the grace of the lord, and will power and the understanding producers at Netflix, I have a job. A wonderful job. I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken gps. But we are doing it. And I laugh and I don't know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best.
Since my diagnosis at ten thirty pm on The night of August 16, I have had love and support from my friends, especially @jaime_king @sarahmgellar@realfreddieprinze @email@example.com. My producers #noreenhalpern who assured me that everyone has something.#chrisregina#aaronmartin and every crew member... thank you. I am in the thick of it but I hope to give some hope to others. And even to myself. You can't get help unless you ask. It can be overwhelming in the beginning. You want to sleep. You always want to sleep. So I don't have answers.
You see, I want to sleep. But I am a forthcoming person and I want my life to be full somehow. I want to play with my son again. I want to walk down the street and ride my horse.
I have MS and I am ok.
But if you see me, dropping crap all over the street, feel free to help me pick it up. It takes a whole day for me alone. Thank you and may we all know good days amongst the challenges.
And the biggest thanks to @elizberkley who forced me to see her brother #drjasonberkley who gave me this diagnosis after finding lesions on that mri. I have had symptoms for years but was never taken seriously until I fell down in front of him trying to sort out what I thought was a pinched nerve. I have probablyhad this incurable disease for 15 years at least.
And I am relieved to at least know.
[Heart] my instagram family... you know who you are.