Getting help. Teen Mom 2 star Leah Messer gets extremely honest in her upcoming memoir, Hope, Grace & Faith, explaining that she had thoughts of suicide and battled addiction.
In an exclusive excerpt obtained by Us Weekly, the reality star, 27, details what happened when her pain medication became more than that.
“I start to realize something is really wrong with me when one of the executive producers tells me that I couldn’t keep my eyes open on camera. The crazy thing is, I didn’t even know I was that out of it when they were filming,” she writes. “I’ve been taking a lot of medications, but I’m not a drug addict. After they botched my spinal tap when I was giving birth to my youngest daughter, the hospital discharged me with refill prescriptions for Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and Tylenol 3, but what really knocked me out was the Diazepam. My doctor prescribed it to calm the free-falling anxiety I experience every time I try to wrap my mind around the stack of medical bills piling up on my kitchen counter. With all the doctor appointments I’ve been juggling for Ali, my oldest, I never had time to schedule a follow-up appointment to figure out why I’m still in so much pain, so my dad has been hooking me up with the same medications.”
She noted that she struggled to get out of bed many days because of headaches but had to take care of her daughters, twins Ali and Aleeah, 10, and Adalynn, 7.
“I keep taking the pills so I can get up, get the twins ready for school, look after my youngest, and face the daily reality of my oldest daughter’s diagnosis with a rare form of muscular dystrophy — without completely falling apart,” she writes. “At first, the medications helped dull the pain in my body and my mind, but at some point, they stopped helping. Now, I’m starting to think they might be part of the problem. I just want to feel normal, but I’m either in so much physical pain that I can barely stand, or so foggy from the pills that I look like a junkie. I try taking half the dose, and then a quarter. My doctor keeps telling me that my body will regulate. I’ll adjust to the medication and not feel so groggy. The puncture that’s leaking spinal fluid into my body will eventually heal and the headaches will go away. Deep down, though, I wonder if I’m so broken there’s no medication in the world that can fix me. I don’t know how I got to this place.”
Messer continues: “Sometimes I look around and I don’t even recognize my life. It feels like one minute I was a 16-year-old cheerleader with dreams of going to college, and then someone pressed fast forward on my life. Now, I’m a 22-year-old single mother of three, sifting through the wreckage of two failed marriages and trying to figure out how I f–ked up my life so badly. I’ve made so many mistakes I’ve lost count. They keep piling up, like pebbles in a jar, until there’s no room left for the person I used to be — or hoped I could become. I’ve almost forgotten (or maybe I just don’t care anymore) that my life is being recorded for a reality television show and edited for maximum drama. The show has been a part of my life for so long now it’s hard to remember what it was like before I had a camera crew following me around, or producers dictating which parts of my life make it onto television and which parts end up on the cutting room floor. I don’t really have a choice anyway. I agreed to live in this fishbowl. Between the mortgage on our house, Ali’s medical bills, and the money I naively kept lending my dad to help him get back up on his feet, I need the income.”
In an exclusive interview with Us, Messer admits she knew her pain management had turned into a problem when she started taking medication from her dad.
“That’s when I really knew. I was like, ‘This is not right.’ And when I would try to stop taking the medication and would physically have withdrawals, that’s when I reached out to whom I thought was the best support in that time, which was my mom and my stepdad and that didn’t work out,” she told Us. The former 16 & Pregnant star added that MTV and her managers stepped up to help, leading her to a treatment center in Arizona.
“It was hard, but I realized at the end of the day, if my cup’s not full, I can’t give to anyone else, not even my children,” she shared. “So [even] if I’m trying my best, but I’m not in my healthiest, I’m not thriving in my life, how am I going to be the mother that they need to be? How am I going to be the woman that I’m meant to be? So that, you know, that was 100 percent the turning point for my life.”
Hope, Grace & Faith will be available everywhere on Tuesday, May 5.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
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