Instead of letting the camera lens tell her tale, she said she is ready to reveal the truth with her new book, Hiding from Reality: My Story of Love, Loss, and Finding the Courage Within.
And she said she is looking forward to returning to her hometown of Tulsa.
“All these memories are flooding back for me,” Armstrong said, noting she mostly wants to spend time with family and catch up with her BFF.
The journey home, she said, is helping her come to terms with the girl she left behind for the Oz-like wonderland of Beverly Hills, Calif.
“When you have emotional scars like I did, you can change your name, lips, hair and ZIP code, but [those scars] stay with you, and your pain will wait for you,” she said.
Emotional scars fill the pages of her memoir, providing a blueprint of the abuse Armstrong has suffered in her own life, but it serves as a guide to warning signs in relationships.
“I wanted people to recognize that the red flags are always there. We choose to ignore them because [sometimes] we want to be in a relationship so badly,” she said.
Hiding from Reality also covers the many issues she had to confront as a child. While she had friends and a cheerleading team to keep her busy, she said her absent father and the abuse he inflicted on her mother negatively influenced her relationships with men, as she sought the love she never received at home.
It was a long trek that ultimately led her into an abusive relationship with her late husband, Russell Armstrong.
“I was just a broken girl who found a broken guy, and we fit together like two broken puzzle pieces,” she said.
With the media scrutiny surrounding her husband’s suicide last August finally behind her, Armstrong said she is looking forward to life, and even has her cast mates to lean on.
“We’re all much closer than I think people realize,” she said.
Armstrong continues to get closer to the girl she left behind years ago in Oklahoma. After changing her name twice to distance herself from her father, she feels as if she’s finally coming full circle. “I’m starting to love [my name] Shana more than I ever did,” she said. “I’ve let go of the shame.”