By Christie D'Zurilla
5:51 PM EDT, October 16, 2013
Mischa Barton isn't the same person she was in 2009.
That woman was in a bad way, out of control and finally committed on an involuntary psychiatric hold after blacking out under the influence of a sedative.
Today's 27-year-old Mischa, as represented in a new People cover story, seems settled enough to reflect back on those crazy days and offer something by way of explanation.
"It was a full-on breakdown," she tells the mag. "I was under enormous pressure."
"It was terrifying," she adds, via ABC News. "Straight out of 'Girl, Interrupted.' Story of my life."
The onetime breakout star of "The O.C." had a party-hearty outlook back in the day. "We thought, 'Work hard, play hard,'" she says. The jet-setting lifestyle, which was partnered with a nonstop work schedule, was fine until things got out of control, including a 2007 DUI when Barton was 21.
Then in 2009, when she threatened to kill herself, it all came to a screeching halt.
"I was never suicidal," she says. "I was just overworked and depressed. But one slip of the tongue in a heightened moment and you find yourself in that situation."
But even the road back to health was fraught with public criticism, just as her wild days had been.
"It was always, 'She's too skinny, she must be sick,'" Barton says. "Then it was, 'She's too big.' I was never the right weight."
All the party drama is behind her, she says — she'll have only a glass of wine with dinner and eats what she wants. She can be seen in the supernatural thriller "I Will Follow Your Into the Dark," which opened last week, and has a TV pilot in the can, "Gutsy Frog," in which she plays a schoolteacher.
"I've learned a lot," she says. "I'm stronger now."
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