Alanis Morissette, best known for her 1995 album “Jagged Little Pill,” was a music icon for angsty teens. With the mega success of her music, she began touring incessantly to share her music with the world.
But after so many nights of leaving it all on the stage, Morissette decided she needed to keep some for herself and temporarily retreated from music altogether.
She needed time for her mental and physical well-being. She told the Huffington Post:
“I was still left with anxiety and depression and humanity and yearning and fear and disconnection, and my relationships were still in slight shambles…”
Since then, she has continued writing and producing music but has always strived to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Unfortunately, when it came to her postpartum depression, there was nowhere to retreat to.
When Morissette gave birth to her first child, Ever Imre, she was expecting to be one big, happy family. She told People:
“As a kid, I imagined having children and being with an amazing partner. This is a whole other wrench I didn’t anticipate.”
Very soon after giving birth to her first child, she began experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, such as “horrifyingly scary” visions of her husband and child being harmed, extreme physical pain, insomnia, and lethargy.
Rather than asking a medical professional about it right away, Morissette said she didn’t see a doctor for the symptoms for more than a year. Almost immediately, her doctor was able to recognize she was suffering from postpartum depression, and she was quickly put on a medicinal regimen that helped control the disorder.
And when she learned she was pregnant with her second child, daughter Onyx Solace, she said she was ready to suffer the same thing.
Unfortunately, she told People that just “seconds” after giving birth, she felt the onset of postpartum depression. To this day, 14 months after Onyx’s birth, the disorder continues to severely impact her life:
“It’s very isolating. I’m used to being the Rock of Gibraltar, providing, protecting and maneuvering. It had me question everything. I’ve known myself to be a really incredible decision-maker and a leader that people can rely on. [Now] I can barely decide what to eat for dinner.”
And she told People that it’s just as hard today as it was at the start. In fact, she said her postpartum depression now is “four times worse” than with her first child:
“There are days I’m debilitated to the point where I can barely move.”
According to the American Psychological Association, up to one in seven women suffer from the disorder, also known as “baby blues.” Women can experience symptoms anywhere from instantly after birth to a year following childbirth. The APA states:
It is a real, but treatable, psychological disorder.
Aside from treatment — which, in Morissette’s case, includes medication, therapy, and daily exercise — like any true musician, she’s found as much of an outlet as she can through her craft:
“I wrote many, many songs over the last three months. It was a song a day. I had to start writing songs, or I was going to implode.”
However, that doesn’t mean the depression hasn’t taken a toll on not only herself but her entire family. Although she said she tries to hide it from her kids because she doesn’t “want it to be their burden,” she hasn’t been able to hide it from her husband, Mario “Souleye” Treadway:
“Poor Souleye sometimes gets the dregs of my exhaustion at the end of the night. Even holding hands at this point is a deeply intimate experience.”
She said he’s been completely empathic about the disorder but that it’s still been hard, nonetheless:
“He’s doing the best he can. I just basically say to him, ‘There’s an end to this, and I’m in the middle of it. I’m so sorry for not being able to be who you typically know me to be.'”
Although she said she’s trying to keep her focus on making her children “feel loved,” she can’t help but feel the need to share her story in order to help any other struggling mothers:
“There’s this version of eye contact that I have with women who have been through postpartum depression where it’s this silent, ‘Oh my God, I love you. I’m so sorry.'”
While Morissette keeps her eyes on the “light at the end of the tunnel,” she hopes telling people about her journey will inspire others battling postpartum depression to know there is an end to such a debilitating disorder. However, like those other women, she just hopes that “end” comes sooner than later.
To watch her full interview, check out the video below: