Chrissy Teigen is known for being open, raw and down-to-earth. She’s shared candid images of her stretchmarks, spoken openly about her struggle to conceive and her journey with IVF and she’s quashed the myth of ‘having it all’ on numerous occasions.
But there’s one thing that’s she’s been keeping from the public eye, until now.
In a powerful essay written for Glamour magazine’s April issue, the author and supermodel has revealed her battle with postpartum depression and anxiety that followed the birth of her first child, daughter Luna, in April.
“I was different than before. Getting out of bed to get to set on time was painful. My lower back throbbed; my shoulders—even my wrists—hurt,” she writes. “I didn’t have an appetite. I would go two days without a bite of food, and you know how big of a deal food is for me.”
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The 31-year-old, who is married to singer John Legend, adds that at her lowest, she couldn’t bring herself to walk upstairs, let alone leave the house.
“When I wasn’t in the studio, I never left the house. I mean, never. Not even a tiptoe outside. I’d ask people who came inside why they were wet. Was it raining? How would I know—I had every shade closed. Most days were spent on the exact same spot on the couch and rarely would I muster up the energy to make it upstairs for bed. John would sleep on the couch with me, sometimes four nights in a row. I started keeping robes and comfy clothes in the pantry so I wouldn’t have to go upstairs when John went to work. There was a lot of spontaneous crying.”
Teigen says her struggle with postpartum depression even saw her alter the way she carried herself.
“Before, when I entered a room I had a presence: head high, shoulders back, big smile. Suddenly I had become this person whose shoulders would cower underneath her chin. I would keep my hands on my belly and try to make myself as small as possible,” she writes.
Despite her symptoms presiding in plain view, Teigen - who has captured the hearts of so many with her quick wit and matter-of-fact nature - said that doctors speculated rheumatoid arthritis or a kidney infection could be to blame for her state.
“During that time my bones hurt to the core. I had to go to the hospital; the back pain was so overwhelming...Maybe it was a kidney infection? No one could figure it out. I saw rheumatoid doctors for the wrist pain; we thought it might be rheumatoid arthritis. I felt nauseated all the time, so I saw a GI doctor. I wondered: Am I making this all up? Is this pain even real anymore?”
Finally, it was her general practitioner who realised what was really affecting her once happy-go-lucky attitude.
“[My husband] John sat next to me. I looked at my doctor, and my eyes welled up because I was so tired of being in pain. Of sleeping on the couch. Of waking up throughout the night. Of throwing up. Of taking things out on the wrong people. Of not enjoying life. Of not seeing my friends. Of not having the energy to take my baby for a stroll,” she writes.
“My doctor pulled out a book and started listing symptoms. And I was like, “Yep, yep, yep.” I got my diagnosis: postpartum depression and anxiety. (The anxiety explains some of my physical symptoms.)”
The star, who hosts the television series Lip Sync Battle, explained how relieved she was at finally having an explanation for her change in demeanor and the physical pain.
“I remember being so exhausted but happy to know that we could finally get on the path of getting better. John had that same excitement,” she writes.
Since her diagnosis, Teigen has begun to tell the “truth to people who needed and wanted to know what was going on with her.” She’s also started taking an antidepressant, "which helped," she says.
She’s now turning her attention to the wellness of others. She’s hoping to break down the stigma and shame that unfortunately, continues to surround postpartum depression.
“I’m speaking up now because I want people to know it can happen to anybody and I don’t want people who have it to feel embarrassed or to feel alone. I also don’t want to pretend like I know everything about postpartum depression, because it can be different for everybody. But one thing I do know is that—for me—just merely being open about it helps. This has become my open letter.”
“As I’m writing this, in February, I am a much different human than I was even just in December. I’m over a month into taking my antidepressant, and I just got the name of a therapist who I am planning to start seeing. Let’s be honest though—I probably needed therapy way before Luna!”