Hayden Panettiere ‘Feeling Great’ After Postpartum Depression Treatment: ‘It’s A Long Process’

Hayden Panettiere
hit the red carpet at the Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday – her first carpet
stateside since seeking treatment for postpartum depression.

“Nashville” star, who looked stunning in a plunging pale peach Maria
Lucia Hohan gown, said returning to the award show scene felt “empowering.”

“I feel like
a different person walking on this red carpet. I always felt a little socially
awkward – I mean, I’m still socially awkward but I feel like I don’t have to
hide myself as much anymore,” Hayden told Access Hollywood’s Liz
Hernandez. “And I can be true, and people will accept your scars and your
bumps and your bruises and will relate to them, and I didn’t really know that
until everything happened over this past year or so.”

(Getty Images)

After voluntarily
checking herself into a treatment facility last October, the new mom said she’s
“feeling great” after completing treatment.

“It’s a long
process and it’s really interesting because part of therapy for me was really
finding my true self and the ability to say no,” Hayden said. “[It’s]
so difficult, so difficult. On one hand they’re telling you, you’re teaching
yourself to really just expose yourself and be real and be honest and be open
and let those emotions flood through, and then on the other hand you’re having
to like keep it bottled up.

“So and
you’re bound to make mistakes and you’re bound, you have to find that balance,
and I’m still trying to find that balance,” she added.

As the actress –
who gave birth to daughter Kaya in December 2014 – was quietly struggling with
PPD in her real life, her “Nashville” character, Juliette Barnes, was
very publicly dealing with the same (initially undiagnosed)  challenge.

For Hayden,
allowing herself to really dive into her character’s pain was almost too difficult.

PHOTOS: ‘Nashville’ Star Hayden Panettiere

“It’s wild
what the mind does. It kind of like puts up a block and you can’t associate,
and I was having a lot of trouble associating,” she explained. “So
the more on-the-head it was, the more hitting the nail on the head, it was, the
closer to me it was and the closer to the truth I, the more my – I just
couldn’t. I was suppressing, I backed away, I had to think of something else.”

“It’s crazy the blocks that your mind puts up just to protect you.”

As previously
reported on AccessHollywood.com, Hayden made her first post-treatment red
carpet appearance in early December, when she stepped out with fiancé Wladimir
Klitschko at a gala in Berlin, Germany.

Erin O’Sullivan

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