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EXCLUSIVE: 'Shahs of Sunset' Star Golnesa 'GG' Gharachedaghi Talks Battle With Rheumatoid Arthritis, Drug Abuse at Age 11

by Jennifer Drysdale 5:45 PM PDT, August 03, 2016
Playing EXCLUSIVE: 'Shahs of Sunset' Star Golnesa 'GG' Gharachedaghi Talks Battle With Rheumatoid Arthritis, Drug Abuse at Age 11

Shahs of Sunset star Golnesa 'GG' Gharachedaghi is used to letting her life play out in front of the cameras, but for the last six years, the reality star has been secretly battling Rheumatoid Arthritis.

GG, now 35, was diagnosed with the disease when she was just 29-year-old old, and despite the fact that she sometimes can't even hold her cell phone for very long, the Bravo star told ET's Lauren Zima she's become good at hiding the pain.

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"I've done a great job putting on this mask, but there's a time when I go home and I'm alone and there's no more mask. It's me and my life and my disease, and that's when the battle is real," she revealed. "Right now sitting with you, my pain level is about a five or a six. There's days where it's at a 15 or 20."

"That's the sort of battle I was dealing with last year, and all throughout filming. My last season I was in a horrible place -- I had never felt just so physically paralyzed, she said. "Like, I couldn't do anything, so I did what a lot of people do to self-medicate: I picked up a bottle and just kept drinking."

After spending the last five years "trying to find the right fit of medication," GG is now undergoing chemotherapy to treat the disease, which she admits she didn't take seriously at first. Gharachedaghi's struggle with the disease was magnified by her history as an addict.

"I was an addict," Gharachedaghi explained. "I have 11 years drug free. I started using drugs when I was 11 and a half, and it kind of progressed very, very fast and I was a full blown addict [before I knew it]."

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"I played around with everything," she said, before naming cocaine and marijuana as her drugs of choice. "One took me up, one took me down…It was really bad. A lot of things happened in those years that I haven’t fully been able to ever publicly talk about."

"When the alcohol abuse picked up last year, I knew this pattern and I knew what was happening. I recognized it," she admitted. "I said, 'Okay, well if I don't stop it now, this could eventually lead to a few lines of coke, it could lead into a lot of other dangerous things.'"

One of those dangerous things GG lists is one scary night in particular, as she seemingly considered suicide.

"I was literally sitting on the ground in my living room, one empty bottle of Titos vodka here, a bottle of wine here, and some gin. And on the other side, I had knives," she recalled. "It just came down to -- you fight or flight in this moment. 'What do I do in this moment?' And I downed the rest of that wine and picked up the phone. I called my friend and said, 'I need you now.'"

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GG got treatment, and is now motivated to give back, working with Children's Hospital Los Angeles on a charity event to raise money for kids with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.

"I didn't want this disease to be something that I’m submitting to," she said, revealing that three and half months ago she was diagnosed with a second autoimmune disease. "Thinking that I can pass this onto my kids, or even if I have kids I can't hold on to them for too long…I just keep envisioning if my child is just crying and I literally have no strength to hold my child for any longer -- it's just something that's been really weighing on me for the last couple years. At this age I should be starting a family, and I'm even debating if I should anymore."

GG went on to reveal that her own childhood is still too painful to discuss.

"It's a little personal," she said on what led her to addiction at such a young age. "I'm kind of dealing with so many other personal little demons right now and my health -- it's like a whole different thing. Hopefully one day I will be able to discuss [it]… Something has to be going on. Something's not right. So hopefully one day I'll open up on that."

The Shahs of Sunset season five reunion wraps up on Wednesday, Aug. 3 at 10 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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