Alanis Morissette Details Postpartum Depression On "Stop The Stigma"

By Victoria Kim 10/29/19

“This time around, it’s less depression, it’s more anxiety and a little more of the compulsive, obsessive thoughts.” 

Alanis Morissette
Photo via YouTube

With each birth of her three children, Alanis Morissette has shed light on postpartum depression (PPD) by sharing her personal experience with the “baby blues”—which can be more serious and longer lasting in some women.

The singer-songwriter sat down with CBS This Morning’s Mireya Villarreal for the show’s Stop the Stigma segment on mental health challenges.

Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that affects some women after childbirth. Symptoms include extreme sadness, anxiety and exhaustion which affect the new mother’s ability to function.

“This time around, it’s less depression, it’s more anxiety and a little more of the compulsive, obsessive thoughts,” the “You Oughta Know” singer shared. She would be consumed by “images that are horrifying, just a lot of times about safety about the people you love, your loved ones, your children,” she said.

But having gone through it twice before the birth of her third child, Winter Mercy Morissette-Treadway, in August, Morissette had the presence of mind to stop and recognize the symptoms of PPD.

Getting Help Instead Of Powering Through On Her Own

Her first instinct was to overcome it on her own, but she was advised otherwise. “My survival strategy is to just push through,” she told Villarreal. “And then 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.”

With the help of medication and the support of loved ones, Morissette has faced PPD with each birth, as she described in a recent essay. The singer detailed her most recent experience with PPD in a blog post published to her website in early October.

“I have been here before. I know there is another side,” she wrote. “I saw how things got richer after I came through it the last two times.” With the birth of Winter, she was better prepared for the impending “postpartum tar-drenched trenches” that came with sleep deprivation, hormones, physical pain, isolation, anxiety, marriage and “all kinds of PTSD triggers,” she wrote.

Stigma-Free Perception Is The Goal

Sharing every detail of this experience is important, she explained. “There’s something about chronicling the experience in real time…If the goal is stigma-free perception of any mental illness or mental health conversation, understanding and giving the details of what it really looks like from the inside is important,” she told Villarreal.

Morissette said that PPD would not deter her from doing it all over again. “Because I had experienced the other side of postpartum depression… I know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I’d be willing to go through it again. I know that sounds a little insane,” she said.

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