When news broke last week that Hayden Panettiere announced she was headed back to rehab for her ongoing battle with postpartum depression I had more than one person reach out—had I heard? I’d be lying if that didn’t make me feel good in a way, that all the talk I do about PPD and maternal mental health is connecting. I also felt a painful twinge for Hayden, whom I’ve obviously never met. The same feeling I have whenever I talk with a mom who’s suffering—deep empathy both for how they are feeling and a little reminder of the darkness I walked through. It takes so much courage to admit that you need help and as a public person who faces public scrutiny that must be ever more difficult.
The real reason I’m sure people are asking my thoughts on her entering rehab is exactly that. Why rehab? As I said before, I don’t know Hayden Panettiere and can’t begin to imagine her medical history, but my observation is the word “rehab” is somehow more acceptable than “inpatient mental health treatment.” Our culture takes celebrities getting treatment for alcohol and drug addiction with a grain of salt while we are hesitant to discuss mental health treatment. The stigma still hangs heavy in regards to antidepressants. I’m grateful to Ms. Panettiere and all the other women, celebrities or not, who are vocal about their struggles with perinatal mood disorders. Our willingness to share an extremely difficult diagnosis makes it just a little easier for the next suffering mom.
If you are suffering with postpartum depression or anxiety you are not alone and you are not a failure. Help is available and treatment works.
Mrs. Texas International 2016