'Horrifying': Alanis Morissette opens up about battle with postpartum depression

The Grammy-winning Canadian singer reveals she is experiencing pain, sleep deprivation, isolation and anxiety following the birth of her third child.
Singer Alanis Morissette with her younger child Winter, born August 8, 2019. Morisette describes postpartum depression as "a sneaky monkey with a machete." (Instagram)

Alanis Morissette is known for her brutally honest lyrics, and now the Grammy-winning Canadian singer is opening up about her personal battle with postpartum depression.

In an interview on CBS This Morning, Morissette reveals that she has been struggling with the illness since the arrival of her son Winter earlier this year. She also experienced postpartum depression after the births of her kids Ever and Onyx in 2010 and 2016, respectively.

"This time around, it's less depression. It's more anxiety and a little more of a compulsive obsessive thoughts," says Morissette, who goes on to describe her experience of intrusive thoughts.

"I mean, images that are horrifying — a lot of times about safety, about the people you love, your loved ones, your children — and then just having to remind myself that 'Oh, no, this is just postpartum depression swooping in again. Stop.'"

Earlier this month, Morissette also posted a highly personal message on her website describing her experience of postpartum, which has included shifting hormones, sleep deprivation, fogginess, physical pain, isolation, anxiety, overstimulation and other effects.

"PPD is still a sneaky monkey with a machete — working its way through my psyche and body and days and thoughts and bloodwork levels," she wrote. "I have stopped, this time, in the middle of it."

She also describes trying to soldier through, and "over-giving, over-serving, over-do-ing, over-overing … beautiful qualities that are on 11 in a way that the body can't ultimately sustain."

In the CBS interview, Morissette also explains that her survival strategy was to simply push through the postpartum — but then she learned that approach could be counterproductive.

“I saw how things got richer after I came through it the last two times. I have my eye on that prize again,” writes Morissette. (Instagram)

"I spoke with a professional who knew all about postpartum depression, and I asked her, 'Does this go away if I just white knuckle through it?' She said, 'No, it actually gets worse,'" recounts Morissette. "So as soon as I heard that, I thought, 'It can't get worse than this.' Then I went on medication right away."

Morissette says she wanted to open up about her experience to help reach the goal of a stigma-free view of mental illness.

The singer, who has sold more than 75 million albums worldwide, adds that no matter what state she's in emotionally, whether she's "sad, angry, freaked-out, lonely, isolated, depressed," she is thankful she can still write.

She also emphasizes that, as difficult as the experience has been, she knows there are better days ahead.

"I have been here before. I know there is another side. And the other side is greater than my PPD-riddled-temporarily-adjusted-brain could have ever imagined: as a mom, as an artist, as a wife, as a friend, as a collaborator, as a leader, as a boss, as an activist," wrote Morissette, who has won seven Grammys and 12 Junos, on her website. 

"I saw how things got richer after I came through it the last two times. I have my eye on that prize again, even as I drag my ass through the molasses."


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