Why do we love Chrissy Teigen? Let us count the ways. For starters, her Twitter feed is a refreshing combination of humorous jabs at Trump and much-appreciated honesty about the realities of postpartum depression and the not-so-glamourous aspects of motherhood. She’s a badass who exudes confidence, but Teigen says she was embarrassed by her postpartum depression — and her explanation of why is an important reminder of the stigma that continues to surround mental health problems.
In an interview with Net-A-Porter, Teigen spoke about the symptoms she experienced after her daughter Luna’s birth: unexplained aches and pains, loss of appetite, and having so little energy that she couldn’t walk up the stairs to her bedroom. But, because of her life circumstances and privilege, Teigen felt ashamed for struggling at all.
“I felt bad [about it] because we had so many resources. John was great and helpful. My mom was here… I was embarrassed,” she recalled. Although access to mental health resources and a supportive family is crucial to coping with postpartum depression, mental illness doesn’t discriminate — and Teigen’s medical history meant she was likely at an increased risk for developing the condition.
“I was prescribed Lexapro [an antidepressant] when I was a teenager, and then I just quit cold turkey, not thinking it was a real thing. I thought everyone had problems like mine, like it was part of life,” Teigen explained. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, women who have previously experienced depression or bipolar disorder are more likely to develop postpartum depression.
Today, Teigen is in a much healthier place and she’s not afraid to say that “it’s because I’m obviously medicated.” In addition to mental illness stigma, people are often shamed for taking anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications — and that’s also unacceptable, because these medications enable millions of people to function on a day-to-day basis and, in some cases, can be life-saving.
Once again, bravo to Teigen for using her platform to raise awareness about taboo topics that we need to be talking about more, not less.