Hayden Panettiere Gets Powerfully Candid About Ongoing Struggles with Postpartum Depression

On Thursday evening, Hayden Panettiere announced she would be taking some time off to further treat her postpartum depression. The Nashville star took to Twitter to share the news herself — in her own words — and to explain the impact PPD has had on her life.

“The postpartum depression I have been experiencing has impacted every aspect of my life,” wrote Panettiere. “Rather than stay stuck due to unhealthy coping mechanisms I have chosen to take time to reflect holistically on my health and life. Wish me luck!”

And while the star did not specify what she would be doing to treat her depression exactly, Us Weekly reports that Panettiere has checked into a treatment facility in Utah.

The actress has been pretty candid about her ongoing struggles with PPD for some time now, ever since she first sought treatment back in 2015, following the birth of her now 17-month old daughter, Kaya Evdokia. Panettiere was met with outpouring of support after the announcement, just as she has since last night’s tweet — especially from mothers who were suffering themselves. The experience had a deeply emotional impact on her, and soon after, she become a staunch advocate for maternal mental health.

“There’s a lot of misunderstanding and I feel like there’s a lot of people out there who think that it’s not real, that it’s not true, that it’s something that’s made up in their mind,” Panettiere explained during an interview on Live With Kelly and Michael. “And, ‘Oh, it’s hormones’ and they kind of brush it off and it’s not true. It’s something that’s completely uncontrollable and it’s really painful and it’s really scary and women need a lot of support.”

Panettiere’s latest announcement may come as a surprise to some, but only because few often talk about the lingering effects of postpartum depression. The ones that stick around well after a baby’s first year. However, as Kate Kripke, a licensed clinical social work (LCSW), explained in an article on Postpartum Progress, many “women — [who are] one, two, or three years past the birth of their little ones — are struggling with a form of maternal distress that dates back, in one way or another, to their pregnancy, postpartum, or even before.”

Kripke added:

“While these moms wouldn’t technically have postpartum depression any longer, they are often struggling with what I will call here continued postpartum distress that was never adequately supported when they first noticed symptoms.”

Personally, I understand exactly what Panettiere is going through all too well right now, because I too struggled with postpartum depression. In fact, I wrestled with it privately for six months before I received an “official” diagnosis. Before I began medication. But even with help — with therapy and Wellbutrin — I struggled with bouts of sadness and rage. I struggled with hopelessness, I felt like a failure, and I entertained suicidal thoughts. For 20 months I considered suicide was a solid way out.

So while I wouldn’t wish PPD on my worst enemy, I applaud Panettiere for taking this step, for taking care of herself, and for being strong enough to ask for help. It is terribly hard — and it makes you feel inadequate, it makes you feel like a bad mom — but at the end of the day, caring for yourself is actually the best thing you can do for your child. Because the healthier you are, the happier and healthier they will be.

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