After Alanis Morissette welcomed daughter Onyx into the world last June, she was hit with severe postpartum depression “seconds” after giving birth. Now 14 months later, she’s still struggling with the disorder, but is speaking out about her painful journey through motherhood.
“There are days I’m debilitated to the point where I can barely move,” the singer told PEOPLE. “As a kid, I imagined having children and being an amazing partner. This is a whole other wrench I didn’t anticipate.”
The 43-year-old says she first experienced PPD after giving birth to her son, Ever, 6 and a half years ago. She immediately began feeling symptoms of the disorder, including intense physical pain, insomnia, lethargy and “horrifyingly scary” visions of her family being harmed. Despite feeling these signs early after delivery, Morissette wasn’t diagnosed until 16 months later.
After her experience with PPD after her son was born, the “Ironic” singer was prepared for her depression to return with her second child. “It’s very isolating,” she says. “I’m used to being the Rock of Gibraltar, providing, protecting and maneuvering. It has 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.”
Morissette’s feelings after birth aren’t uncommon. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in nine women develop PPD after giving birth. Symptoms could be those the singer described or they may also include crying more often than usual, feelings of anger or those of disconnection from family or your baby.
The singer told People that her PPD is “four times worse” the second time around. She’s being treated with a combination of medication and homeopathic therapies, exercising daily, working with therapists and using music as an outlet. “I wrote many, many songs over the last three months,” she says. “It was a song a day. I had to start writing songs, or I was going to implode.”
The Jagged Little Pill artist’s husband, Mario “Souleye” Treadway, is supportive, but “sometimes gets the dregs of my exhaustion at the end of the night,” she says. “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.’”
More than anything, Morissette is just excited to feel like herself again as time passes.
“There are people who are like, ‘Where’s the old Alanis?’ and I just think, ‘Well, she’s in here. She’s having a minute,’” she says. “I just know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and try not to beat myself up.”
Photo credit: Instagram / @alanis, Getty / Michael Kovac/AMA2015