In the latest episode of PodCo's Ned's Declassified Podcast Survival Guide — which she co-hosts with her former Ned's Declassified costars Devon Werkheiser and Daniel Curtis Lee — the Pretty Little Liars alum, 34, reflected on her first overdose.
“So, I overdosed,” she recalled, noting that she felt “so cold” but didn’t have anyone to call at the time. “I had been taking Adderall all day, drinking tequila from the bottle. I poured my Xanax prescription out in my hand, plus a few extra pills that I had combined bottles for, and I just [poured them all in my mouth].”
“I blacked out for two days. I guess I went to Cedars-Sinai, got my stomach pumped. And then when I woke up — on a bed face-down — in a mental facility,” Shaw continued. “The first thing I did was get up, like, ‘Where the f— [am I?]’ And I go to the doors, and just like a cartoon, two orderlies [grabbed me by each arm] and walked me back in there and I was like, ‘Holy s—, I have to stay here.’”
Shaw explained that it was a "5150," which is an involuntary psychiatric hold that occurs when a person is deemed to be a danger to either themselves or others. The patient can be held in a psychiatric hospital for up to 72 hours, unless it is extended.
Shaw explained that after the mandatory three-day hold, she had to convince doctors that she was okay to leave, which she ultimately did.
However, “six months later, it happened to me again,” she said.
“I got f—ed and it was because I was drinking in public,” Shaw said. “The cops came up on me and were arresting me for that but I said, ‘God, f—ing take me,’ and so they were like, ‘That’s more of a suicide thing than you going to jail.’”
The actress said she “calmed down” immediately after entering the facility. While there, she was given a shot of Ativan and Benadryl before falling asleep for a day and a half.
Reflecting on the low point, Shaw said it was “wild” how much she was putting in her body.
“I remember them telling me, ‘You tested positive for methamphetamine’ and ‘You can leave,’” she said on the podcast. “So, that was wild, dude. The first time was insane because … reading back hospital reports, [you see] your stomach being pumped but you have no idea. Like, you’re gone.”
Werkheiser then admitted that it was difficult seeing her struggle in the past.
“Some of the times [I’d] see you, I could just feel the f—king pain and the chaos,” he said. “And still, there’s my friend Lindsey, who I f—king love and I just want so many good things for, but f—k, there’s nothing I [could] do.”
Shaw explained that, at the time, she was “just trying to get by.”
Back in July, Shaw also discussed on the podcast how her past drug abuse and disordered eating impacted her career — and specifically led to her losing the part of Paige McCullers on Pretty Little Liars.
She tearfully said that “it was so bad” but she’s grateful that now she’s in a better mental place.
“You look like what you look like, you know what I mean? There are things that I enjoy so much about my body now that I can’t put words to. Even though like before, it was traditionally a little bit more thin, whatever looks good on camera so that any angle looks good on you,” the actress said.
“For the mental place I’m in now, I’m so much happier,” Shaw said at the time, later adding, “That was a wild time and it brought me to where I am now. And for better or for worse, whatever happens in the future, like, this is the only life that I can be living. For whatever professional success was in the past, it’s not comparing to the Friday nights I can sit and enjoy a movie on my couch.”