Hayden Panettiere, Critics Choice Awards

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Hayden Panettiere is starting 2017 off strong.

The Nashville star appeared on Good Morning America Thursday and opened up about her struggles with postpartum depression after welcoming daughter Kaya, 2. "It takes you a while and you feel off," Panettiere explained of how she realized something was wrong. "You don't feel like yourself."

With the love and support of her fiancé Wladimir Klitschko, Panettiere checked into rehab to receive treatment—a decision she said made her a "better mom."

"Women are so resilient, and that's the incredible thing about them," she said. "I think I'm all the stronger for it. I think I'm a better mom because of it because you never take that connection for granted."

Hayden Panettiere, Good Morning America

ABC

Even though Panettiere is away from her daughter these days—little Kaya is skiing in Austria (no big deal!)—the Heroes alum is "feeling fabulous."

"I'm feeling great," she gushed, adding that filming Nashville has helped her get back on track. "I'm so glad to be back playing Juliette. Everything she's been through has been like a hazard sign in the road. She made me stronger. I feel like she's a phoenix. She crashes and burns and then she rises from the ashes and she always takes the lesson and becomes stronger for it.

"So we have that in common I think," Panettiere added.

Panettiere's onscreen character also struggled with postpartum depression. "It absolutely helped me," she said of playing her country star character. "I think it helped me identify what was going on. And to let women know that it's OK to ask for help and it's OK to have a moment of weakness. It doesn't make you a bad person, doesn't make you a bad mother. It makes you a very strong, resilient woman. You've just got to let it make you stronger."

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