But when the family sitcom wrapped in 1995, it was no longer punchlines and laugh tracks for Barber, now 43. She dealt with severe anxiety and post-partum depression — which all came to a head nine months after the birth of her second child, Felicity, and remained with her through her divorce in 2014.
Unable to eat, get out of bed, or care for her two young children during the 2007 episode, Barber moved in with her parents for a month, bringing along the whole family.
“That’s when I realised like, ‘Whoa, this is bigger than me. This is huge, and I can’t manage it by myself. I need help,’” she tells The Post.
Barber details the breakdown and the ways she eventually got through it in a new memoir, Full Circle: From Hollywood to Real Life and Back Again, out from Citadel Press.
“This is my soul laid bare,” says Barber, who writes that she overcame her 2007 breakdown with medication and therapy.
Born and raised in the Orange County, California, area that she still calls home, Barber broke out as a child star on Full House, playing D.J. Tanner’s zany best friend. After she wrapped the show’s eighth and final season, Barber left Hollywood, not returning until two decades later, when she reprised the role for Netflix’s Fuller House. (Barber says she has been in touch with her former co-star Lori Loughlin, who has been indicted in the college admissions scandal. “She is very near and dear to my heart, and I’ve made sure that she knows that,” says Barber.)
Reuniting with the cast has been helpful for Barber, who’s found ways of addressing her mental health in the years since it became an issue. She found a reprieve in jogging and has now pounded out four full marathons.
“Running has been my salvation,” she says. “There’s something about going for a long run and thinking about (life) deeply. Coming home, suddenly my head felt clear.”
Another unexpected form of relief? The reunion of New Kids on the Block, the boy band she had worshipped as a kid — it happened to align with her divorce from Jeremy Rytky.
“I started going to their concerts more because I suddenly had some more free time when my kids were with their father during our shared custody schedule,” she says, adding that she’s gone on several of the band’s chartered cruises.
“It was a way to leave all of my problems at home and just live in the moment … That was an amazing mental release and a break from all of the stress that was going on in my life.”
Barber says she’s in a “pretty good” place with her anxiety today, although she started seeing her therapist every week again to deal with the sadness of Fuller House filming its fifth and final season.
“I just have to feel my feelings,” she says. “Fortunately, there are a lot of people to hug (on set) that I love and that are going through the exact same thing.”
If you or anyone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyondblue on 1300 224 636
This article originally appeared on The New York Post and was reproduced with permission