Hayden Panettiere on her postpartum depression: 'I’m just going to put it all out there'

Hayden Panettiere got by with a little help from the public and her co-stars after entering rehab for postpartum depression last fall. “I got so much support and so much love. I was floored,” The Nashville star told Yahoo! Style. “I feel much more exposed yes, but in a great way.”

The actress, who welcomed one-year-old daughter Kaya with her fiancé Wladimir Klitschko back in December 2014, revealed that she was initially scared of entering the treatment center.

Photo: Doug Inglish

I was always so terrified that people weren’t going to accept me," she explained. "I finally just went I’m tired of living afraid. I’m tired of living in fear of what people are going to think, so you know I’m just going to put it all out there on the table and I’m not going to worry about the judgment.”

The 26-year-old also realized that “the more open [she] was, the more acceptance [she] got from people.”

Following her stint in rehab, Hayden admitted it was bizarre returning to her hit ABC series. “It was strange having to throw myself back into that frame of mind,” she said. “The way I do things is to pull from my own personal experience and sometimes even turn myself into what I’m portraying so that I can pull from my life and step into that person’s shoes by being able to relate.”

Photo: Doug Inglish

Like Hayden, the actress’s onscreen character Juliette Barnes also battles postpartum depression. The mom-of-one's experiences have helped loosen her up and learn more about herself. "People connect with being human, with being real, with just doing your own thing,” she said. “That confidence in doing your own thing is something that I’m learning more and more and more about, and it feels good. It feels really good.”

For those who criticize and doubt postpartum depression, the TV star said, “You have no idea what you’re talking about.” She continued, “If you think for one second that a mother wants to feel that way towards her child, you’re outta your mind. It is one of the most debilitating, scary, guilty feelings that you can ever feel. That a mother would not be able to connect with their child, would not be able to get a grip, or would not know what’s going on, for anybody to say that it’s false or created by us, you must have your head examined.”

Hayden certainly looked happier than ever over the weekend when shared family photos Saturday on Twitter, one of which featured her fiancé and their daughter. Hayden captioned the sweet photo of the father-daughter pair, "The loves of my life."

While in treatment for her depression, she previously admitted, "I didn't even look at social media. Then, when I looked, people were like, 'Oh my gosh, good for you,' and I am so proud to be a spokesperson and a woman that people can look to and to know that they're not alone and they're not weak if they go and they seek help."

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