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Demi Lovato says she felt like she was in a ‘walking coma’ after 2018 overdose

‘I wasn’t experiencing life,’ singer recalls

Amber Raiken
New York
Friday 15 September 2023 16:25 BST
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Related: Demi Lovato Reveals ‘Cool For The Summer’ Is About A Female Celebrity.

Demi Lovato has opened up about feeling like she was “walking in a coma” after her near-fatal overdose in 2018.

The singer, 31, spoke about the lasting health challenges she’s continued to face, five years after she was rushed to the hospital due to “complications” from a reported overdose, during a recent appearance onThe Howard Stern Show. After confessing that she had her “regrets” about overdosing, while still having “healthy perspective” about what happened to her, she also spoke candidly about her decision to go sober.

She specified that while she was “California sober” – a term used to describe someone who avoids all drugs except cannabis – during her recovery from the overdose, she later realised that she needed stop smoking marijuana.

“I had to learn it on my own,” she said. “What happened was, I was smoking so much weed, and taking edibles, sometimes 300mg at a time. Just an unhealthy level.”

The “Confident” singer continued to describe her recovery process, as she recalled the ways in which marijuana ultimately impacted her mental health.

“All I did was replace my addiction with something I thought was safer,” she said. “It threw me into this deep depression where I put on a bunch of weight because I was just smoking and eating. I was hiding in my room, not wanting to go outside because I didn’t want anyone to see me.”

After specifying to Howard Stern that she didn’t go outside because she didn’t want people to see her weight gain, she also recalled the “profound sadness” that she was feeling following the overdose.

“I wasn’t experiencing life,” she said. “I ultimately was in this walking coma, where I wasn’t feeling any pain but I also wasn’t feeling any joy.”

She also described how certain feelings, like laughter and joy, felt different when she was sober instead of high.

“Now when I laugh, and have belly laughs and there’s tears streaming down my face, it feels so much more rewarding than when I would laugh when I was high,” she said. “I don’t really know why that is, but I think it’s because I’m more present.”

Lovato added that when she was smoking weed and drinking alcohol again, after her overdose, it “led her back to other substances,” which encouraged her to “go back into treatment in November 2021”.

She then acknowledged how she’s worked towards staying sober, adding: “Abstinence has been the key for me.”

This isn’t the first time that Lovato has spoken candidly about her overdose and how it shaped her health. During an appearance on SiriusXM’s Andy Cohen Live in July, she revealed that her overdose left her with vision and hearing impairment.

“The closest thing that I get to a regret is when I overdosed and I wish somebody had told me, one, that I was beautiful, because I didn’t believe it,” she said. “And two, I wish that someone would’ve told me that if you just sit with the pain, it passes.”

“That overdose caused me a lot of - it actually caused a disability. I have vision impairment and hearing impairment to this day,” she continued, before admitting that she doesn’t drive anymore due to “blind spots in [her] vision”.

However, the Disney Channel alum also described what she’s learned from the lasting effects of her overdose.

“Anytime I look at something - like, I have blind spots in my vision when I look at your face,” she told TV host Andy Cohen. “And so it’s a constant reminder to stay on the right path, because I never want that to happen again.”

In her 2021 YouTube documentary series, Dancing with the Devil, Lovato opened up about some of the challenges she faced weeks before the overdose, noting that she became addicted to meth, heroin and crack cocaine, which left her with permanent brain damage.

“I’m surprised I didn’t OD that night,” she recalled. “I just went to town. I went on a shopping spree. That night I did drugs I’d never done before. I’d never done meth before, I tried meth. I mixed it with [ecstasy], with coke, weed, alcohol, oxycontin. And that alone should have killed me.”

Along with discussing her sobriety journey over the years, Lovato has continued to speak candidly about her mental health. During the Hollywood & Mind Summit in May, she opened up about the relief she felt when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011 after entering rehab.

“I was so relieved that I had finally had a diagnosis,” the “Skyscraper” singer said. “I had spent so many years struggling, and I didn’t know why I was a certain way in dealing with depression at such extreme lows, when I seemingly had the world in front of me just ripe with opportunities.”

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