Avril Lavigne is opening up about her health struggles over the years as she prepares for the release of her new album.
Lavigne is about to launch her sixth studio album, Head Above Water, at the end of this week. But while she has much reason to celebrate, the "Complicated" singer has spent more than four years out of the spotlight due to health concerns.
In a new interview with PEOPLE, she explained in great detail the devastating case of Lyme disease that incapacitated her for a long time.
"I've gone through so much," she told the publication of her condition.
Lavigne first stepped out of the public eye in 2014 after the disease started to affect her on tour. After struggling to get better for so long, she said that Lyme disease undoubtedly factors into her new music.
"It gave me a purpose," she said, "and made me find myself all over again."
Lavigne suffered from debilitating weakness and exhaustion, which spiraled into chronic pain and even dementia. In no time, she went from the tour bus to her bed at home, where she remained for two years. Lavigne said she seriously believed she was dying during that time.
"When you go through something like that, you realize how fulfilling simple things are — things I could do anymore, like being able to get up in the morning and go to the kitchen and grab a cup of coffee," she said. "It taught me patience; it taught me being more present. That was a beautiful lesson."
Lavigne said that she turned to spirituality and prayer throughout her years of recovery, but said that ultimately music was what kept her going. She said that many of the songs on her new album were written during her illness.
"Music really lifted me up and made me feel better," she said. "I was able to take a hard time in my life and make the best out of a circumstance that was I was going through... At first I didn't know I was making an album — I just naturally turned to songwriting in a time of healing."
The experience has also turned Lavigne into a more health conscious person, she said. She eats a clean, organic diet now, practicing mediation and yoga and taking a regimen of herbs to treat her remaining Lyme disease symptoms.0comments
"I'm feeling pretty good," she said. "It put things in perspective and showed me how much the small things in life — friends, love, family, just your health — matter the most."
Lavine's album, Head Above Water, is available everywhere on Friday, Feb. 15.