'Full House' star Andrea Barber details anxiety, postpartum depression in book: 'We can heal'

Sonja Haller, USA TODAY

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.' "

Andrea Barber, Kimmy Gibbler from "Fuller House," learned she has generalized anxiety disorder.

Seeking help  

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."

Andrea Barber said "Fuller House" co-stars didn't know how bad her postpartum depression was.

Supportive co-stars 

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.

More: Bob Saget on 'Full House' co-star Lori Loughlin's college scandal: 'I don’t cut people out'

'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." 

Follow the latest from USA TODAY Parenting at usatoday.com/life/parenting.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Full House' star Andrea Barber details anxiety, postpartum depression

  • Full coverage: Trump impeachment hearings — Day 7
    Yahoo News

    Full coverage: Trump impeachment hearings — Day 7

    The House Judiciary Committee on Monday held its second public hearing in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump's dealings with Ukraine. Key takeaways: • The Intelligence Committee formally presented its findings to the Judiciary Committee, bringing the House one step closer to a formal vote to impeach Trump. The evidence is overwhelming that the president abused his power by pressuring Ukraine and its new president to investigate a political opponent,” said Barry Berke, staff attorney for the Judiciary Committee.

  • Boston's trauma to be dissected as marathon bomber appeals death sentence
    Reuters

    Boston's trauma to be dissected as marathon bomber appeals death sentence

    This city's deepest wound - the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings that killed three and injured hundreds more - will be re-examined Thursday when lawyers for bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev seek to have his death sentence lifted because the jury pool was too traumatized to render a fair verdict. The then-19-year old Tsarnaev and his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan sparked five days of panic in Boston that began April 15, 2013, when they detonated a pair of homemade pressure cooker bombs at the race's packed finish line. The pair eluded capture for days, punctuated by a gunbattle with police in Watertown that killed Tamerlan and led to a daylong lockdown of Boston and most of its suburbs while heavily armed officers and troops conducted a house-to-house search for Dzhokhar.

  • ‘No More Survivors Expected’ Among Dozens of Tourists Caught in New Zealand Volcano
    The Daily Beast

    ‘No More Survivors Expected’ Among Dozens of Tourists Caught in New Zealand Volcano

    At least five people have died and more than 20 are still unaccounted for after the White Island/Whakaari volcano off the coast of New Zealand erupted without warning Monday as tourists hiked around the rim and walked inside the crater. Authorities say an estimated 30 to 38 of those on the island when the volcano erupted were on an adventure excursion from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was docked on North Island about 30 miles away. In a statement just after midnight local time, police officials said they feared the worst for those still on the island.

  • A formerly vegan influencer followed the meat-only carnivore diet for 30 days and her fans are not happy
    INSIDER

    A formerly vegan influencer followed the meat-only carnivore diet for 30 days and her fans are not happy

    YouTube/Alyse Parker A formerly vegan influencer followed the carnivore diet for 30 days and documented her experience on YouTube. Alyse Parker, from Connecticut, was vegan for nearly five years before reintroducing animal products to her diet in early 2019. But she recently went one step further and ate only meat, fish, eggs, and some dairy for a month, which she says gave her "mental clarity."

  • Mysterious automated calls, vanished relatives, and sinister Facebook comments: How China intimidates Uighurs who don't even live in the country
    Business Insider

    Mysterious automated calls, vanished relatives, and sinister Facebook comments: How China intimidates Uighurs who don't even live in the country

    OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images China is waging a widespread, coordinated mass crackdown on its Uighur Muslim minority. Though the brutal campaign is most active in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, the Uighurs' homeland, many Uighurs abroad say they have also been targeted by Chinese agents. Members of the Uighur diaspora described receiving mysterious automated calls, eerie Facebook comments, and being threatened by Mandarin Chinese speakers in real life.

  • Katie Hill: It's Not Over After All
    The New York Times

    Katie Hill: It's Not Over After All

    On Nov. 6, 2018, I was elected to Congress; at 31, I was one of the youngest women ever elected to the House of Representatives. One year later, I was sitting on a train to New York to meet with my lawyers about suing The Daily Mail for cyber exploitation — and I was no longer a member of Congress. It was the first time I had spoken publicly since my relationship with a campaign staffer was exposed, since naked photos of me — taken without my knowledge and distributed without my consent — had been posted online, since wild accusations from my estranged husband about a supposed affair with a congressional staffer (which I have repeatedly denied), since I had resigned my hard-fought seat in Congress.

  • Remember When Russian Diesel Submarines Chased Down A British Nuclear Sub?
    The National Interest

    Remember When Russian Diesel Submarines Chased Down A British Nuclear Sub?

    Key Point: We'll probably never know what happened. Russian diesel subs chased a British nuclear sub off the Syrian coast, according to British media. The incident reportedly involved one or two Russian Kilo-class diesel-powered submarines, which have been dubbed the "Black Hole" by Western navies because they are remarkably quiet.

  • Saudi who killed 3 sailors was infuriated by ‘Pornstache’ nickname
    Yahoo News Video

    Saudi who killed 3 sailors was infuriated by ‘Pornstache’ nickname

    The Saudi air force trainee who killed three sailors at a U.S. Navy base last week reportedly made an official complaint about being called “Pornstache” by one of his instructors.

  • Associated Press

    Virginia gun rights activists vow to fight new restrictions

    Those who attended the rally said such gun-control measures would do little to reduce mass shootings and other crimes, but instead would punish responsible gun owners. "Hands off our guns, hands off our rights, and hands off our guns," said Bob Good, a member of the Campbell County Board of Supervisors. Good said he hoped the rally would send a message to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam and state lawmakers to stop them from passing laws with “unconstitutional gun restrictions.

  • 'S--- just got real': DOJ watchdog uncovers pro-Trump text messages between FBI agents after 2016 election
    Business Insider

    'S--- just got real': DOJ watchdog uncovers pro-Trump text messages between FBI agents after 2016 election

    The Justice Department's watchdog said it uncovered a series of text messages between two FBI agents cheerleading President Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 election. The texts were revealed in the inspector general Michael Horowitz's highly anticipated report on the origins of the FBI's Russia investigation.

  • Man wearing reindeer slippers tips woman out of wheelchair on train as he tries to steal it
    The Independent

    Man wearing reindeer slippers tips woman out of wheelchair on train as he tries to steal it

    A man has been arrested after a would-be thief tipped a woman out of her wheelchair on a train and attempted to steal it. CCTV footage of the incident shows a man dressed in a red jacket and reindeer slippers, who lept out of his seat and grabbed the handles of the wheelchair as the train approached a station. The woman sitting in the chair can be seen desperately grabbing onto the railings inside the carriage as the attacker attempts to steer her out of the open doors.

  • U.S. Supreme Court rejects Arizona opioid case against Purdue, Sackler family
    Reuters

    U.S. Supreme Court rejects Arizona opioid case against Purdue, Sackler family

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away a novel case by Arizona seeking to recover billions of dollars that the state has said that members of the Sackler family - owners of Purdue Pharma LP - funneled out of the OxyContin maker before the company filed for bankruptcy in September. The justices declined to take the rare step of allowing Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich to pursue a case directly with the Supreme Court on the role the drugmaker played in the U.S. opioid epidemic that has killed tens of thousands of Americans annually in recent years. The lawsuit accused eight Sackler family members of funneling $4 billion out of Purdue from 2008 to 2016 despite being aware that the company faced massive potential liabilities over its marketing of opioid medications.

  • 'It was beautiful': Acupuncturists help migrants stranded at Mexico border deal with stress
    USA TODAY

    'It was beautiful': Acupuncturists help migrants stranded at Mexico border deal with stress

    For months, Carlos Lopez's mind has been endlessly spinning with the fears and anxiety of leaving his home country of Honduras, traveling 1,700 miles with his 13-year-old son to this Mexican border town and the day-to-day survival of living in a squalid tent city. “All the bad thoughts went away,” Lopez, 41, said, as he emerged from his 45-minute-long acupuncture session. Lopez is one of a growing number of migrants stuck on the border under President Donald Trump's Migration Protection Protocols policy – which sends migrants to Mexican border towns to await their immigration court hearing in the U.S. To help the migrants pass the time and deal with stress, teams of volunteers led by Acupuncturists Without Borders, or AWB, a nonprofit that treats people in disaster zones and refugee camps and trains other acupuncturists around the world, are providing Lopez and others with free acupuncture treatment at border towns in Mexico.

  • Isil 'matchmaker' who lured British teen bride to Syria is deported to France
    The Telegraph

    Isil 'matchmaker' who lured British teen bride to Syria is deported to France

    Turkey has deported to France the “Islamic State matchmaker” who lured a British teen bride to Syria as part of a drive to send foreign fighters back to their countries of origin. Tooba Gondal, 25, is among 11 French nationals that Turkey repatriated early on Monday, according to France's Centre for Analysis of Terrorism, CAT, citing official sources. A French judicial source confirmed that four women and their seven children had arrived in France.

  • Rick Gates Seeks to Avoid Jail at Sentencing for Conspiracy
    Bloomberg

    Rick Gates Seeks to Avoid Jail at Sentencing for Conspiracy

    Former Trump campaign official Rick Gates asked a judge to spare him from prison, put him on probation and order him to do community service for his crimes of conspiracy and lying to federal investigators. In a court filing Monday, Gates said he has accepted responsibility “in every way possible. He's scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington on Dec. 17.

  • The Russian Navy Has Some Problems
    The National Interest

    The Russian Navy Has Some Problems

    The Russia fleet in 2019 will take delivery of 23 new surface vessels, two new submarines and three new aircraft, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced. As such, 2019 continues the Russian fleet's long-term trend toward fewer and smaller ships. “We have paid and will pay the closest attention to the technical re-equipment of the armed forces, including, of course, the modernization of the Russian navy,” Putin said at a Dec. 3, 2019 meeting of top military and industry officials.

  • The 25 Best Tower Defense Games
    Popular Mechanics

    The 25 Best Tower Defense Games

    Build those structures. Keep them from harm. Collect that loot.

  • 'An outright lie': Ohio lawmaker shown to be linked to group pushing rightwing Christian bills
    The Guardian

    'An outright lie': Ohio lawmaker shown to be linked to group pushing rightwing Christian bills

    An Ohio legislator who said he had “no knowledge” of a rightwing Christian bill mill called Project Blitz is, in fact, the co-chair of the state branch of an organization behind the campaign. The Ohio state representative Timothy Ginter sponsored a bill called the Student Religious Liberties Act. The Guardian revealed the bill was nearly identical to one promoted by Project Blitz, a state legislative project guided by three Christian right organizations, including the Congressional Prayer Caucus (CPC), WallBuilders and the ProFamily Legislators Conference.

  • A protester from the conspiracy site InfoWars interrupted the latest impeachment hearing as soon as it began, shouting 'Trump is innocent!'
    Business Insider

    A protester from the conspiracy site InfoWars interrupted the latest impeachment hearing as soon as it began, shouting 'Trump is innocent!'

    A protestor who works for the right-wing talk radio and conspiracy site Infowars interrupted the first minutes of Monday's impeachment hearing by yelling loudly in the hearing room. Shroyer has helped spread right-wing conspiracies, including the "Pizzagate" theory, which falsely alleged that multiple pizza restaurants were fronts for child sex trafficking rings led by Hillary Clinton. A protestor who works for the right-wing talk radio and conspiracy site Infowars interrupted the first minutes of Monday's impeachment hearing by yelling in the hearing room about his opposition to the process.

  • Trump impeachment hearing: Pro-Trump Infowars host who called for Obama to be lynched thrown out of inquiry
    The Independent

    Trump impeachment hearing: Pro-Trump Infowars host who called for Obama to be lynched thrown out of inquiry

    A host on the far-right US conspiracy and disinformation website InfoWars has been removed from the latest impeachment hearing by police, after interrupting House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler with pro-Donald Trump messages. The interruption came from a host on the fringe conservative website who led a racist call earlier this year for the lynching of Barack Obama, America's first African American president. The host was seen being led out by Capitol Police after the interruption on Monday, shortly after the start of the hearings in which politicians are to question the counsels hired by the House Intelligence Committee to spearhead questioning during earlier impeachment hearings.

  • 'I Got Tired of Hunting Black and Hispanic People'
    The New York Times

    'I Got Tired of Hunting Black and Hispanic People'

    At a police station tucked into an end-of-the-line subway terminal in South Brooklyn, the new commander instructed officers to think of white and Asian people as “soft targets” and urged them to instead go after blacks and Latinos for minor offenses like jumping the turnstile, a half-dozen officers said in sworn statements. The commander, Constantin Tsachas, was in charge of more than 100 officers who patrolled a swath of the subway system in Brooklyn, his first major command. Since then, he has been promoted to the second-in-command of policing the subway system throughout Brooklyn.

  • Elizabeth Smart's dad, Ed, in first interview since coming out as gay: 'There is no cure'
    USA TODAY

    Elizabeth Smart's dad, Ed, in first interview since coming out as gay: 'There is no cure'

    Seventeen years after his daughter Elizabeth's high-profile kidnapping and rescue, Ed Smart spoke Monday of his struggle to come out as a gay man. There is no cure. This is absolutely not a choice," Smart said, sobbing in an interview with Gayle King on "CBS This Morning."

  • USA TODAY Opinion

    Rejecting Michael Bloomberg just because he's worth billions of dollars makes no sense

    If the rich are indeed "different from you and me," as F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, it would certainly not be in a good way by the standards of the Democratic Party's progressive wing. One candidate for the party's 2020 presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, is hawking "Billionaires should not exist" bumper stickers. Another, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, is selling $25 coffee mugs bearing the words "Billionaire tears," in a nod to the ultrarich angst over her plan to tax wealth.

  • Finland's new young female prime minister breaks the mold
    Associated Press

    Finland's new young female prime minister breaks the mold

    Finland's next government is breaking the mold in multiple ways. Sanna Marin, the 34-year-old transport minister, was tapped over the weekend by the ruling Social Democratic Party to be Finland's new prime minister. When she takes the reins of the country, most likely on Tuesday, she will become the world's youngest sitting head of government.

  • It Looks Like a B-2 Bomber: Here Comes Russia's Okhotnik Stealth Drone
    The National Interest

    It Looks Like a B-2 Bomber: Here Comes Russia's Okhotnik Stealth Drone

    Key point: Russia is exhibiting a variety of advanced, air-worthy platforms. The Russian air force's first stealth fighter has flown in close formation with its first armed, stealth drone, possibly indicating that the two types might fly and fight together in the future. The Okhotnik unmanned aerial vehicle made its first joint flight with an Su-57 manned fighter, the Russian defense ministry announced on Sept. 27, 2019.