At 5 a.m., Andrea Barber, the outrageous, self-styled, wacky neighbor known as Kimmy Gibbler from "Full House" and "Fuller House," was "frozen on her couch" and called her parents.
She couldn't anymore. Couldn't anything. She couldn't parent her daughter, Felicity, then 9 months, or her son, Tate, then 4. She couldn't care for her herself. She was vomiting daily, had stopped sleeping and eating and had dropped to 98 pounds. Her husband, Jeremy Rytky, didn't understand how to help.
Barber, now 43, details her life as a child actress, a lifetime of depression and anxiety, and the postpartum depression that finally prompted her to get help in "Full Circle: From Hollywood to Real Life and Back Again."
The book is out Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Barber said she'd later learn her lifelong "weirdness" was a mental health issue. But at the time she made a desperate call to her parents, she didn't know it.
"It was several months of this long slow spiral of my vomiting every morning at 3 a.m. getting worse and worse and taking longer and longer to get out of bed. And I slowly stopped eating," Barber told USA TODAY. "It was when I made that 5 a.m. phone call to my dad and said, 'I need you to come pick me up. I don't know how I am going to get through the next minute of this day, much less the whole day.' "
Barber moved the whole family in with her parents and eventually sought counseling and medication.
Barber tried two "awful" therapists before finding the right counselor.
"I needed to understand. I wanted the knowledge," she said. "What am I going through? Plus, I was so low. It's not being solved by going for a walk every day or medication."
She was eventually diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder.
The introvert, who is terrified of red carpets and media interviews, realized she suffered from anxiety when she was cast in "Full House" in 1987. She would throw up before filming. She just thought she was more nervous than other actors.
Although celebrities talk about anxiety and depression now, Barber said she lacked the language and knowledge 10 years ago to ask for help. She also felt shame around the way it manifested for her.
"I would spend an hour in the bathroom in the toilet," she said of her vomiting. "I thought there was something wrong with me. I just thought I was this idiot who couldn't get it together. That's honestly how I felt. And it makes me sad to think that now."
Barber has nothing but praise for her "Full House" co-stars. Don't expect any juicy tell-all details in this book. Candace Cameron Bure, who played bestie DJ Tanner, and Jodie Sweetin, who played Stephanie Tanner, have known about her anxiety and have helped her get through her red carpet moments. But both were in the dark about the depth of her suffering, Barber said.
Bure was surprised when she read an advanced copy of her book.
"She told me, 'I didn't know it had gotten that bad.' Like, her heart was hurting. I wasn't really talking about it with anybody. Nobody really knew."
Barber, who divorced in 2014 and whose children are now ages 14 and 12, wrote the book over four months.
She went back though and added a few words about co-star Lori Loughlin, who played Aunt Becky. In the book, she called her "100 percent as lovely and as sweet as she seems." (Loughlin even safeguarded Barber during her first on-screen and real kiss.)
"I still love her, and she is a huge part of my heart," she told USA TODAY.
'We can heal'
Barber says at the beginning of her book, this isn't a "how to" book. "I am here to talk about my anxiety and depression," she writes.
But she also talks about how she got into acting (by accident), gives a behind-the-scenes look at her "Full House" co-stars and life on the set, and what she did during all that time between "Full House" and "Fuller House." She went to college, interned at the United Nations, raised her children, battled postpartum depression and found her footing after divorce.
Her hope is that by sharing her depression and anxiety struggles, more people will share their stories.
"I'm hoping to create a culture of sharing stories, and it's not just sharing a hashtag," Barber said. "It's more important when you're ready to share your own personal story. Writing my story was very cathartic, but sharing my story – even a glimpse – people respond. And it creates this culture of openness and this tribe of people with this shared experience and shared pain that we're all in this together and we can heal."
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Full House' star Andrea Barber details anxiety, postpartum depression