Alanis Morissette: ‘I Have Postpartum Depression’

THIS IS A RETOUCHED HI RES FILE Alanis Morissette photographed with her husband, Souleye, and kidsóson, Ever (dob 12/25/10) and daughter, Onyx (dob 6/23/16) -- at their home in Malibu, CA, on 8/15/17. Photographer: Jana Cruder Hair: Marcus Francis/Suave Professionals Celebrity Stylist/Starworks Artists Makeup: Kayleen McAdams/Armani/Starworks Artists Stylist: Heidi Meek/Opus Beauty Clothing Credits (Alanis only): Dress ñ Jaase Australia

Grammy Award-winning singer Alanis Morissette opens up to PEOPLE about suffering from postpartum depression after the births of both her children — son Ever, now 6, and daughter Onyx, now 14 months.

On her experience with PPD: “There are days I’m debilitated to the point where I can barely move. As a kid, I imagined having children and being with an amazing partner. This is a whole other wrench I didn’t anticipate.”

On experiencing PPD “seconds later” after she gave birth to Onyx last June: “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.”

On her PPD being “four times worse” this time and currently on a combination of medication and homeopathic therapies, exercising daily, working with therapists and channeling her struggles into music: “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.”

On protecting her children from her PPD: “Because I don’t want it to be their burden.”

On her 7-year marriage to Mario “Souleye” Treadway: “My main priority is that I want to make sure both of my children are loved and bonded with and provided for. 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. I set him up to win as often as I can. 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.’ ”

On shattering the shame of PPD: “The stigma remains in a really big way. 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.’ 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.’ I just know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and try not to beat myself up.”

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