Christina Applegate: Removing Stigmas About Her MS Disability

On August 10, actress Christina Applegate (Dead To Me) tweeted that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).

“Hi friends. A few months ago I was diagnosed with MS. It’s been a strange journey. But I have been so supported by people that I know who also have this condition. It’s been a tough road. But as we all know, the road keeps going. Unless some ****** blocks it.”

She added in a later tweet: “As one of my friends that has MS said ‘we wake up and take the indicated action’. And that’s what I do. So now I ask for privacy. As I go through this thing.  Thank you xo”

Also known as MS, Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the brain and spinal cord in which the body’s immune system attacks the myelin sheath that covers and protects nerve fibres. This causes communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body, making an MS disability a potentially debilitating one. Although Multiple Sclerosis has no cure, there are treatments that can help people recover from attacks, modify the course of the disease, and manage their symptoms. 

Actress Selma Blair Also Has MS

In October 2018, actress Selma Blair (Cruel Intentions, Legally Blonde, Hellboy) revealed in an Instagram post that she had recently been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Meghan L. Beier, Ph.D.,  is a rehabilitation neuropsychologist and assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She thinks it’s a great thing when celebrities share their diagnosis publicly because it can have a positive impact. “Even though MS is the most common neurologic illness after traumatic injury,” she says, “it is still relatively unknown to the general public. Celebrities help bring awareness and understanding to the diagnosis.”

Additionally, says Beier, “If a celebrity is able to positively share their own challenges, and also share the tools they are using to manage the challenges, this can help the whole MS community.”

Irish writer Dearbhla Crosse, who was diagnosed in 2019, agrees. “No one is immune to illness,” she writes in an article for The National News. “Not even celebrities. Yet harmful stigmas about disability mean many people choose not to speak out. There is huge societal pressure to fit a certain able-bodied mould.” She hopes that when celebrities such as Applegate and Blair share their stories, “it could inspire women with similar symptoms to seek advice or treatment.”

Invisible Disabilities

Crosse notes that there are a lot of myths about having an MS disability. “There are those who think if someone’s disability isn’t visible there isn’t anything wrong with them. Like so many, my perception of MS was that I would ultimately need a wheelchair. Actually, about 85% of people are diagnosed with ‘relapsing-remitting MS’ and most never end up losing mobility.”

The Invisible Disabilities Association defines invisible disabilities as “a physical, mental or neurological condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities that is invisible to the onlooker.” This can include mental health conditions illnesses such as MS, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, chronic dizziness or vertigo, and inflammatory bowel disease. 

Unfortunately for people who struggle with these conditions, the tests that can be done to identify them can be inconclusive, which means that insurance companies will often deny them. Thus, it can be incredibly difficult to prove the need for disability benefits when applying for an invisible disability.   

Share Lawyers Is On Your Side

Having an MS disability should not deter you from seeking the disability benefits you deserve, especially when filing a claim for long-term disability benefits. Seeing the phrase “claim denied” in a letter from your insurance company can be upsetting, but it is also extremely common. It doesn’t mean you should give up home and it shouldn’t make you afraid to seek the advice and help of an experienced long-term disability lawyer

Share Lawyers has helped many clients get the long-term disability benefits they deserve, even after their insurance companies have denied their claims, including clients with invisible illnesses. Disability law is always evolving and now covers more conditions than ever before and legal precedent suggests that disability can and should be interpreted in broad terms. 

An invisible disability is a valid basis for a claim to request long-term disability benefits, so don’t hesitate to reach out to Share Lawyers if a medical issue is making it difficult to keep up with the demands at work or you have been wrongly denied long-term disability benefits. Share Lawyers offers a free consultation so you can find out if you have a case and what you can do next.

If you have had your claim for long-term disability denied, contact the long-term disability insurance lawyers at Share Lawyers. Our experienced team of long-term disability (LTD) lawyers can help. We have recently settled cases against Canada Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and many more. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have a disability case.

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