Tatum O’Neal has revealed that she suffered a near fatal overdose and stroke in 2020.
During a recent interview with PeopleThe 59-year-old actress recalled overdosing on drugs and suffering a massive stroke that left her in a coma for six weeks. “I almost died,” said O’Neal, who is open about her drug problems.
As per the publication, in May 2020 she overdosed on a combination of painkillers, opiates and morphine to boost her immune system.
When O’Neal overdosed at her Los Angeles apartment, a friend found her and rushed her to the hospital. According to O’Neal’s eldest son, Kevin McEnroe, whom she shares with ex-husband John McEnroe, his mother was “very isolated” before overdosing.
“With the addition of morphine and heavier drugs, it became increasingly frightening. COVID, chronic pain, all of those things led to a place of isolation. I don’t think there was much hope for them in that place,” he said.
Along with her eldest, the paper moon The star has a 35-year-old son, Sean McEnroe, and a 32-year-old daughter, Emily McEnroe, with the tennis star.
During her hospitalization in May 2020, she was diagnosed with aphasia, “a disorder that affects the way you communicate,” which affects the way you speak and write, as noted by the Mayo Clinic . At the time, she was in a coma “and had damage to her right frontal cortex,” according to Kevin.
“Sometimes it was a no-brainer,” he said. “I had to call my brother and sister and say she’s probably blind and deaf and may never speak again.”
Kevin also noted that his mother had trouble speaking when she came out of her coma: “She didn’t know where she was,” he explained. “She couldn’t say, ‘I’m scared.'”
He further recalled that he and his siblings were unable to visit their mother in hospital due to Covid-19 restrictions. “When Emily first came to see her, she had to be behind glass,” he said, noting that his family communicated with O’Neal primarily through video and phone calls.
After the overdose, O’Neal was under medical supervision for two years and regularly attended therapy sessions. Although she regained her memory and improved her vocabulary over time, according to Kevin, she is still in the recovery phase.
“The emotional things that originally drove my mother to do drugs are still very present,” he said.
O’Neal also attended daily therapy sessions and frequently attends 12-step meetings, with her doctor assisting her in this recovery work. “I’ve been trying to get sober my whole life,” she said. “Every day I try.”
She has been in rehabilitation centers for the past three years to improve her reading and writing. Looking back on her recovery process, she remarked, “I’ve been through a lot.”
O’Neal also recalled struggling with heroin addiction at various times in her life. Some of her drug issues emerged when she and her ex were in the spotlight as they were in the middle of a public divorce and custody battle over their children.
“I’ve been an addict my whole life. “Quite off and on for the last 30 to 40 years,” she said Peoplenoting that she’s since been working on getting sober for her kids.
Reflecting on his mother’s life, Kevin noted that while she “always wanted sobriety as a mother, she never really wanted it.” However, he said her perspective on sobriety has since changed.
“She accepted this attempt at recovery. She was always a very loving mother, but when I was isolated I thought it was hard to find love for yourself,” he said.
Kevin, who has been sober for three years after struggling with drug and alcohol use, went on to describe how “proud” he is of his mother.
“For me, this last chapter where she wants to live, get sober and learn is a miracle,” he said. “I think it’s beautiful. I’ve never been so proud to be her son. She’s full of love and heart.”
Stressing how much she is focused on her family during her recovery, O’Neal added, “Every day I try. I want to be with my beautiful three children.”
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