Alanis Morissette has been one of the most influential singer-songwriters of her generation. Join us as she talks about her experiences with anxiety and depression, and why she doesn’t dislike being labeled as angry — even though she’s “irretrievably Canadian and relational.”

Morissette also discusses her role as a feminist icon, the mental health lessons she has drawn after 25 years in the public eye, and what it means to be multitudinous. Her new meditation album, The Storm Before the Calm, is out now.

Alanis Morissette

Since 1995, Alanis Morissette has been one of the most influential singer-songwriter-musicians in contemporary music. Her deeply expressive music and performances have earned vast critical praise and seven Grammy awards. Morissette’s 1995 debut, “JAGGED LITTLE PILL,” was followed by nine more eclectic and acclaimed albums. She has contributed musically to theatrical releases and has acted on the big and small screen. On December 5, 2019, “JAGGED LITTLE PILL” the musical made its Broadway debut at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City. The show was nominated for fifteen Tony Awards and won two Tony Awards at the 2021 ceremony. In July 2020, Alanis released her ninth studio album, “Such Pretty Forks in the Road,to rave reviews. In August 2021, Alanis kicked off her sold-out world tour celebrating 25 years of “Jagged Little Pill.The tour became the #1 female-fronted tour of 2021 and one of the Top Worldwide Tours of 2021 selling over 500,000 tickets. Alanis also stars in Fox’s sitcom, “The Great North,” which will return for season 3 in 2022.

Outside entertainment, Alanis is an avid supporter of mental health, female empowerment, and spiritual and physical wellness. In 2016, she launched “Conversation with Alanis Morissette,” a podcast that features conversations with a variety of revered authors, doctors, educators, and therapists, covering a wide range of psychosocial topics, extending from spirituality to recovery to developmentalism to art. Guests have included Gabor Maté and Dan Siegel as well as many other leaders and teachers. A dedicated charitable activist, she has supported numerous causes that focus on empowerment, art, psychological and spiritual healing, relationships, and environmental causes, earning her a Global Tolerance Award from the United Nations. Alanis was also honored with the Rock the Vote’s Patrick Lippert Award for her dedication to causes making the world safer for young people, including the benefit concert Groundwork:Act to Reduce Hunger, as well as several fundraisers for gun control and 9/11 relief. Along with Harville Hendrix, John Gottman, Sue Johnson, and Dr. Dan Siegel, Alanis founded the Relationships First Organization, which empowers people to communicate without criticism, listen without judgment, and connect through their differences. She has given keynote talks at a variety of events, including the Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference and 1440 Multiversity, where she explored “remaining connected with oneself, spirit and others.”

Gabe Howard

Gabe Howard is an award-winning writer and speaker who lives with bipolar disorder. He is the author of the popular book, “Mental Illness is an Asshole and other Observations,” available from Amazon; signed copies are also available directly from the author.

Gabe makes his home in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. He lives with his supportive wife, Kendall, and a Miniature Schnauzer dog that he never wanted, but now can’t imagine life without.

To book Gabe for your next event or learn more about him, please visit

Producer’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript has been computer generated and therefore may contain inaccuracies and grammar errors. Thank you.

Announcer: You’re listening to Inside Mental Health: A Psych Central Podcast where experts share experiences and the latest thinking on mental health and psychology. Here’s your host, Gabe Howard.

Gabe Howard: Welcome, everyone. I’m your host, Gabe Howard, and calling into the show today we have Alanis Morissette. Outside of entertainment, Alanis is an avid supporter of mental health and female empowerment. Alanis’ 1995 worldwide debut album, Jagged Little Pill. Well, it defined a generation, but it was followed by nine more albums and her new meditation album, The Storm Before the Calm, is coming out on June 17th. Alanis, welcome to the show.

Alanis Morissette: Hello. Thanks for having me.

Gabe Howard: I am, I’m super excited to be here. Right? I’m the right age. Jagged Little Pill was amazing and all of your follow up music, all amazing. We’ve established that you’re amazing. But here’s the first.

Alanis Morissette: Have we?

Gabe Howard: Yeah, I mean, just

Alanis Morissette: Okay.

Gabe Howard: Listen. Anybody that doesn’t think you’re amazing can just stop listening right now. Like this is how it’s going to go from here forward. It’s not a mental health podcast anymore.

Alanis Morissette: [Laughter] Okay.

Gabe Howard: Yeah, it’s really just like Gabe’s podcast now.

Alanis Morissette: It’s an amazing podcast? Okay, good.

Gabe Howard: It’s an amazing podcast now.

Alanis Morissette: I get to be amazing with you. Okay. Good to know. I can be amazing. That part can come out today, good.

Gabe Howard: Right? Right. I know. Normally you’re less than amazing, but today.

Alanis Morissette: Yeah. I’m kind of compromised and [Laughter].

Gabe Howard: Regular amazing. Just

Alanis Morissette: Yeah, just bring it up. Just bring it up. Okay. I will rise for this.

Gabe Howard: This is, I’m so happy. This is this is going well. I can’t, I can’t wait to tell my friends about it. And I have it recorded now. The record is actually on this time,

Alanis Morissette: You have proof that we were giggling? Okay.

Gabe Howard: Right?

Alanis Morissette: Giggling gets me through everything, by the way.

Gabe Howard: Oh, yeah,

Alanis Morissette: Okay.

Gabe Howard: Me too. I embrace humor as healthy.

Alanis Morissette: It is. It’s a therapy.

Gabe Howard: Here. Here is my first question. I’m thinking of the jagged little pill days.

Alanis Morissette: Mm-hmm.

Gabe Howard: And you know, all the way back in 1995 and everybody said, this album is so angry. It’s so angry. I don’t like this. It’s so angry. And I want to be honest, 1995, Gabe, I believed it. I was like, Yeah, well, she’s angry. She’s pissed off, right? And now, now it’s 2022. I’ve heard the album a million times. I still own the CD and there’s one song. There’s one song that you could, depending on how you listen to it, interpret it as anger. And that’s You Oughta Know. The rest of them are, like, super cheerful.

Alanis Morissette: Well, right. There’s this song called Right Through You on there. That’s a little, a little testy. But for me, if someone’s going to one dimensionalize it out of the gate, I’ll take angry. I don’t mind. Anger is actually a really good friend of mine. Not the destructive acting out of anger, but anger itself. So I’ll take it. If it must be one dimensionalized and reduced, I’ll take anger.

Gabe Howard: But it’s only one dimensionalized and reduced because you’re a woman, right? Men have put out much angrier albums that don’t get that tag. Has this followed you around your career where they just assume that you’re bitter? Instead of it being an awesome breakup song, it’s a bitter, pissed off song?

Alanis Morissette: Well, I think what wound up happening, going into radio stations and otherwise was that people were confused. Their sense was that I would walk in and just be raging and likely knocking things over and acting out. But then I would come in and be irretrievably Canadian and relational, you know? So I think there was confusion as to how can this person who’s socially graceful be so angry and how can this yes, how can this female be so angry? And it was a real opening for the multitudinous-ness to be included in all humanity, not just women, non-gender, men, bodies, just everybody. We all have a part of us that is angry. We all have the part of us that has the capacity to be jubilant and joyful. We have all these millions of parts in us. So for anyone to be reduced to one thing is a violence. And it’s ridiculous.

Gabe Howard: I embrace anger a lot. I live with bipolar disorder. I’ve gone through depression. I’ve certainly been suicidal. And one thing that I learned about anger is there’s sort of an empowerment with it, right? Like anger is the first step toward action

Alanis Morissette: Yes.

Gabe Howard: Where you’re angry about something and it moves toward action. Is this how you feel about it?

Alanis Morissette: No. I mean, I’m happy to have emotions assigned me if that’s what we’re going to go with. But we’re such beautifully complex creatures, right? We have our thoughts, we have our behaviors, we have our soul, we have our senses, we have our intuition. We have all these parts. Anger’s just one part of it, you know, and anger, I completely agree with you. So many times, in the midst of deep, swampy quicksand-y depression, I’ve been livid. Just repressed, sublimated lividity. So for me, as soon as I express it, whether it’s in a therapeutic context or with a friend, a trusted safe friend. As soon as I express it and articulate it, it moves. So for me, it’s about having the energy to become unstuck. I have to just stay responsible and look at every element of what causes depression, every element of what causes certain thoughts to come streaming in and keep me in that state of depression and anxiety.

Gabe Howard: One of the things that I hear a lot when I talk to people about like interviews that I do with celebrities and people in the public eye who live with depression or anxiety or any mental health issue is, oh, well, they can comfort themselves with their millions.

Alanis Morissette: Co regulate with your cash.

Gabe Howard: Right. Just. Just cuddle up to it.

Alanis Morissette: I’m just going to snuggle my cash here because my cash isn’t judgmental. Yeah, I know. And by the way, I get it. I think what a lot of people perceive is that, hey, if I had money to afford support or an assistant or get on this without worrying about to figure out if I can afford it, or I completely understand that the perception is that someone who has this level of abundance in their life first of all, we are privileged, ridiculously privileged, and then some of us are actually quite wounded by being in the public eye because of our temperaments. A lot of artists deeply, deeply, deeply sensitive and empathic. So there’s a vulnerability temperamentally out of the gate. And then you sort of this person in the public eye and yeah, the cash is not going to co regulate with you, even though it will make some things easier. Absolutely. There’s no question about that. It’ll also make some things more challenging and have more people to interact with and play roles with. There’s a lot of roles that emerge when life changes in a financial realm. There’s a whole conversation around it that understandably, most people don’t want to hear about. And so I don’t talk about it much.

Gabe Howard: One of the things that you mentioned is that some artists are super sensitive to the criticism, the things that they see online and the things that they hear. Well, all of those other artistses aren’t here. Artistes? Is artistses as a word?

Alanis Morissette: Yeah, today it is.

Gabe Howard: Yeah, but we’re going to go with that. All the other artistses

Alanis Morissette: Hell yeah.

Gabe Howard: Yeah. Yeah, they’re not here. But. But you are are you one of the super sensitive artists? Is this very difficult for you or are you able to tune it out?

Alanis Morissette: Um. I am very sensitive. Doesn’t mean reactive or easily triggered. Sensitivity is a trait easily overstimulated. Attuned to subtleties a lot. Deeply empathic. And then really depth of processing a rich inner world, basically. So if you take that temperament out into the world interaction, there are more breaks that are required if there’s going to be some homeostasis upheld. There’s a responsibility that has to go into being this type of temperament. And then to take it even further, there’s the empath within the highly sensitive trait. A lot of abilities are born from those, right? There’s so many and it’s such a beautiful deep dove to finally take something that myself and so many of us who are highly sensitive, we’ve seen it as a curse almost. You know, the world values and praises, extroversion go out there and get it as though that’s the panacea. Have you talked to anybody who’s a billionaire who has zero problems

Gabe Howard: Well, right.

Alanis Morissette: And has relational grace?

Gabe Howard: I’m fascinated by this part, you know, to hearken back to that whole comfort yourself with your cash. Like we haven’t seen rich people die by suicide. Like we haven’t seen famous people be admitted to psychiatric hospitals. Like we haven’t

Alanis Morissette: Yeah.

Gabe Howard: Seen the breakdown of all

Alanis Morissette: Yeah.

Gabe Howard: Kinds of socioeconomic classes because of mental illness, but we just wave it off. Is that just because mental illness isn’t understood? I’m

Alanis Morissette: Yes.

Gabe Howard: Really curious to that whole statement from your vantage point.

Alanis Morissette: Yes. It’s egregiously misunderstood when I talk with someone and they say, you know, they want to know about my experience with eating disorders. They want to know. And I just think, wow, where do I where should I unfurl this scroll of insights and realizations and healing pivotal moments because it’s so complicated but in a really sweet way. Like the more knowledge I gleaned and gained from studying and learning and getting into the psyche and understanding what was going on within me and what parts were starving and in pain. Unless I had gone into this interiority and really, really showed up to therapy and showed up and grieved, you know, there would be no way to really articulate. There’s actually no way for me to articulate in a in a short point form way. Everything that I’ve learned, I can give pieces.

Gabe Howard: What’s it like from your vantage point to hear people just dismiss your mental health issues because you just happen to be in the public eye? A talented singer, rich, whatever word we’re using this week to describe celebrity.

Alanis Morissette: Yeah, I get it. I get it. People don’t want to hear about it for the most part. But I have to tell you, tons of people understand anyone in the psychotherapeutic community completely understands that human is human. They don’t care. Thankfully, I haven’t had people poo poo my journey as a human being. I’ve had therapists and many, many mentors and teachers who couldn’t have cared less that I was subject to abundances and fame. In fact, they saw it as a compounding of my challenges, a greater way for me to isolate, which is one of the recipes for disaster. And I don’t mean disaster as we’re doing something wrong if we isolate. It’s a natural tendency when we’re in this much pain and the sensation is this strong and this debilitating and this distracting. I think of some people, even in the meditative world, where they’re just like, you know, watch the thoughts. And I’m like, but if you’re in a painful place when we’re in that physical, somatic sensation of pain and it can be so debilitating that your life completely slips away in terms of attention. So so when someone says, Oh, you can just meditate it out, I’m like, Actually, no, I actually can’t, because this sensation in my chest or my shoulders or my jaw is so distracting and debilitating that it it won’t turn away until I give it attention.

Alanis Morissette: It’s screaming at me. So paying attention and having a quality of inquiry or curiosity is one of the most amazing ways to crawl up and be pulled out of the quicksand through relationships. But I have to tell you, if there are voices and parts in there that are really protective and managerial and cruel, that are ongoing, be loud in our heads, these voices, we don’t want to be left alone with those voices. We want to be with a safe other who’s got some wisdom and really look at it and to show where it’s false. Because I can guarantee life myself that if I feel like shit, there’s some false thoughts going on. There’s something I’m believing that isn’t true. And me investigating that alone when I’m down there, it’s really hard to do alone. So the very thing that we’re doing to survive, which is isolate, is the thing that is keeping us stuck in the quicksand. And there’s nothing wrong with any of it. I mean, it’s a natural tendency when I’m in pain or struggling, my tendency is to go hide. My tendency is to go within and kind of disappear. And that’s the recipe for even more isolation, more pain, suicidality, all of it.

Gabe Howard: One of the things in my life that is sort of giving me, I don’t know, an existential crisis is how I see things differently as I’ve aged. And your album, Jagged Little Pill, your worldwide debut, when it first came out, I honestly thought that Jagged Little Pill referenced drugs like that was that was where 17

Alanis Morissette: Mm-hmm, it could.

Gabe Howard: Year old Gabe’s mind was.

Alanis Morissette: Yes. Smart.

Gabe Howard: Yeah. Then ten years later, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and I decided that jagged little pills were the psychiatric medications. The reality is, I have no idea where you came up with it. Maybe you just thought it was cool.

Alanis Morissette: Well, it’s all of it. It’s all of it.

Gabe Howard: Is there a mental illness component to that name?

Alanis Morissette: Of course. I mean, it’s basically it can be a metaphor. It can be literal, it can be figurative, it can be energetic. It can be just a turn of phrase to imply that when I’m hearing tough feedback, when I’m hearing something that is hard for me to hear. Let’s say someone’s marking a blind spot and it’s like, Oh, gosh, I know I need to hear this, but it’s tough to hear. That’s the jagged little pill.

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Gabe Howard: So obviously there’s a lot of people involved in the podcast. I just take all the credit, but there’s many, many people.

Alanis Morissette: They’re listening now.

Gabe Howard: One of the person who is the most in charge behind the scenes. In fact, I do whatever she says I’m kind of scared of her is a woman that I’ve worked with for almost 20 years now. Her. Her name is Lisa Kiner. She’s getting a big shout out on the show.

Alanis Morissette: [Laughter]

Gabe Howard: And she wrote something in like the show notes as we’re going through and, you know, getting questions and doing that stuff. And she said, and I’m going to read it. Exactly.

Alanis Morissette: Okay.

Gabe Howard: She said, at the time of Jagged Little Pill, I kind of thought that Alanis was constructed. I thought that she was the corporate commodification of feminism and female rage. But I got to tell you, she’s practically the most authentic person that anyone could possibly be. She goes on stage wearing stuff from her own closet, not something a stylist picked out. She even writes her own songs. It’s just unheard of for a female artist to be like her in 2022, let alone 25 years ago.

Alanis Morissette: Hmm.

Gabe Howard: How the hell did she do that?

Alanis Morissette: Aww.

Gabe Howard: How the hell did you do that?

Alanis Morissette: Lisa, can tell me how you did that?

Gabe Howard: Yeah. Lisa wants to know.

Alanis Morissette: Uhm, first of all, that’s very kind. I did have different philosophies instilled in me value system wise for my parents to just keep walking. And I had a manager when I was quite young who would say things like, this is going to get really intense for you, and I just want to pretend you’re on a train track and just keep looking down. One step in front of the other, just stay in his own way. He was saying stay as present as possible. And for me, it is the panacea. I mean, if there is one, which of course there isn’t, but staying hyper present and having the spaciousness and the and the opportunity to apply awareness, which is basically loving attention to whatever needs to be inquired into that has been really helpful.

Alanis Morissette: I don’t take things too seriously, including myself. I take empathy very seriously. That part is where I go, where there’s a big thunk for me, like if someone’s in pain. But I don’t take life too seriously. And not all of us, including myself, we don’t always have that space to be, to just sit and beingness and rest and awareness the way that ultimately is our birthright. We don’t even know how to do it because we’re taught and conditioned. We’re conditioned from almost day one, from parenting, from media, from everywhere we look, from billboards. We’re conditioned to carve ourselves into this one expression of what we’re supposed to look like, how we’re supposed to walk, how we’re supposed to dress, what our bank account number is supposed to be, who our friends are supposed to be.

Alanis Morissette: So we’re trying to figure out the one path we’re supposed to take. And if there was one piece of feedback, again, not my favorite word that I got over the years, especially from the industry. They didn’t like my multitudinous ness, they didn’t like that I liked rock and comedy and spirituality and that I was a philosopher and throw me in a room with people asking quote unquote, big questions. And it’s my favorite place. I’m drooling. They didn’t like that. I wasn’t singular because somehow in some book somewhere, it said that you’re supposed to be one thing and stay in your lane. For some, staying in one lane is a pure rest and joy. For me, it’s a prison.

Gabe Howard: Well, yeah. If you stay in your lane, that’s called being on-brand. I’m making air quotes on brand, so you got to be on-brand.

Alanis Morissette: [Laughter]

Gabe Howard: You got to be one thing. You can’t be many things.

Alanis Morissette: Right. Well,

Gabe Howard: That’s confusing.

Alanis Morissette: I know. Heaven forbid, heaven forbid. So. So that’s one of the pervasive messages. To touch on the bigness of Lisa’s question is I’ve always been uncomfortable with being reduced to one thing, although I’m happy to have someone project that onto me. If that’s going to help their journey, that’s awesome. Okay, great. So. So know metaphors new to you and that’s all you can see in my songs. Great rage is scary or new. Then that’s all you can see in my songs. Okay. You know, wisdom and and psychological understanding is important to you. And so that’s what you see in my songs. So it’s all in some ways, we’re all just projecting all over each other.

Gabe Howard: It is amazing how often I listen to a song and I think, Oh, this is a beautiful song, like your song Head Over Feet. I danced to it at my wedding. It

Alanis Morissette: Hmm.

Gabe Howard: Was a beautiful song. I loved it. My high school girlfriend and I, that was our song and I loved it. And then we got divorced. Now it’s the worst song ever.

Alanis Morissette: Oh, no.

Gabe Howard: I cringe when it comes on.

Alanis Morissette: Like, I f**king hate that song.

Gabe Howard: Yeah, that’s what I say every time I turn down off and they play it at every wedding ever. You held the door for me. I’m like, God, I want to slam people’s head in that door.

Alanis Morissette: Yes. Now I do, yeah.

Gabe Howard: Yeah. So, I mean, as we age it, songs take on different meanings. Does that happen for you? Like you wrote the song?

Alanis Morissette: Yeah.

Gabe Howard: Do you ever write a song thinking it means one thing? And then ten years later, the song that you wrote, that you birthed, that you perform and you’re like, Yeah, it doesn’t mean that anymore for me.

Alanis Morissette: Well, it’s not so much that it’s relegated to some trash bin because my perception changed. It’s that it’s been updated and there’s a little more insight. So as an example, there’s a song called Not the Doctor that I wrote when I was 19 and I hadn’t been in the kind of committed relationship that I’m now in, in my marriage. And so basically that song implies I don’t want to have anything to do with your healing process. You’re over there and I’m over here and figure we’ll figure it out. It was a little more autonomous because, again, a pervasive message in culture, its value somehow to figure everything out on your own. Because this big autonomy movement happened, I think, after the Second World War, where a lot of the men went to fight and women thought, okay, well, I guess I have to start doing all the stuff that he was doing and I’m noticing that I can.

Gabe Howard: That’s really the takeaway, right? You’re allowed to update

Alanis Morissette: Yeah.

Gabe Howard: Your beliefs about your songs

Alanis Morissette: Of course.

Gabe Howard: Just like everybody else can update their beliefs and the meanings around your songs.

Alanis Morissette: Exactly. Yeah. And it’s interpretation.

Gabe Howard: Yeah. We can interpret differently as we get older.

Alanis Morissette: And we do, by the way, not even as we get older, sometimes 10 minutes later, you know, it’s like perception and the localization of where of us looking out and interpreting songs and interpreting paintings. There are some paintings that I remember looking at and just thinking, Oh, that’s beautiful. Then when I look at it in my thirties, I’m weeping. So it’s all our lenses. It’s how we shift. But for the most part, I’m going to completely contradict myself and say, for the most part, a lot of these songs have have stood the test of time in terms of my being able to perform them with conviction because I’m still in and of that value system, if that makes sense. So for me, when I’m on stage, if I hear a line of the line stands out as it’s coming out of my vocal chords, I’ll dwell on that for a minute to the point where I have to kind of bring myself back to the present, because it’s they’re all they’re all rabbit holes, they’re all sort of invitations and some to think this about Bob Dylan, I’d be vacuuming in my house, listening to Bob Dylan, and I’d have heard the song 20 times, and for some reason one line would stick out that day and it would haunt me in a great way and I would think about it. So there are certain things that jump out of us. And I don’t I see that as moments of this message is for me today. I’m not too precious about it, but I’ll just think, okay, I was supposed to hear that line. I was supposed to read that paragraph.

Gabe Howard: Alanis. I’m so glad that you brought up all I really want, because there is a lyric in there that that haunts me for 25 years because it was true 25 years ago, and it’s true today. And that’s the lyric. Why are you so petrified of silence? Because I, I personally, genuinely am. And it put it into words for me. I was able to tell other people, Hey, I’m scared of silence like my and this did. I’m not saying that led to me being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, getting mental health help. It wasn’t. But people started asking questions like, why are you scared to be alone? Why are you scared of? And it helped me put it into words. This is why. So this is why I genuinely say, I’m so glad that you’re writing songs about this and other artists as well. And it doesn’t get enough because sometimes the best way to put things into words is to use other people’s words. Because because we’re busy.

Alanis Morissette: [Laughter]

Gabe Howard: We’re not 100% sure what’s going on.

Alanis Morissette: Yeah, yeah. Your schedule is jammed, dude, you need. You need to pull some.

Gabe Howard: Right. Yeah. Yeah. Like, I’m busy being depressed, anxious, tired,

Alanis Morissette: Yeah. Takes a lot of energy as you know.

Gabe Howard: I can’t formulate an explanation. This is why we have singers and songwriters. Come on.

Alanis Morissette: You shouldn’t have to either.

Gabe Howard: Yeah.

Alanis Morissette: That’s what we’re here for.

Gabe Howard: Yeah, like I go into a therapist, I play this song. Like this is what’s wrong with me.

Alanis Morissette: Yeah. It’s so helpful.

Gabe Howard: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s much easier, but. But I mean, sincerely, I, I, I want to make sure that all the listeners understand that as well. It’s, I, I think writing about these songs isn’t just a mechanism to make people aware of them. It’s also a mechanism of people who can relate to it, realize they’re not alone. And I think that’s super powerful.

Alanis Morissette: And then what happened?

Gabe Howard: Then you’re not alone.

Alanis Morissette: Yes but, the instant we find, the instant we find that we’re not alone. It’s a regulatory moment, right? It’s a relational moment. And as much as I thought I could heal by isolating and heal by being self-protective and shutting down and disassociating and all the fun stuff that I’ve that I’ve done and still do. The only way out is to be across from a safe other, you know, and you know, there’s so many one liners that are brilliant, like, whereas, whereas quote unquote sick is the secrets we keep. And there’s just so many beautiful one liners that imply that if our life is riddled with shame and hiding and isolation, it’s the complete opposite of what the invitation of life is. And we’re all protected. So many of us are protected and defended and reactive and dangerous, you know. So where it might have been that we would have seen a saber-toothed tiger in some context, in some field somewhere. Now we see it at the grocery store or so we think, you know, we think that these people are dangerous or judgmental and and perhaps they are, but it’s too chronic. It’s our bodies were not meant to stay in a state of emergency. 24 seven. We just weren’t. So it makes sense that our systems are shutting down.

Gabe Howard: Alanis, thank you so much for taking the time. Your new album, The Storm Before the Calm, it’s listed as a meditation album. And I, I don’t want to sound like I don’t know what I’m talking about, but what is a meditation album?

Alanis Morissette: For me, it’s an invitation to stillness, spaciousness, inquiry, talking to different parts who’ve been ignored and really need our attention or they’re going to act out, or it’s just a break. But the one qualification that I do want to make around this meditation record is that. Meditation when it’s super silent, can actually be an anxiety inducing process, and it’s actually not helpful. So sometimes music or guided meditations can be helpful because there’s some implication of of relationality built into it. So the irony here is I’m putting a meditation record out and letting people know that it’s not always part of that. Sometimes it’s just about having someone love you across from me. So there’s so many different states of our sweet humanity that this record really touches on a big handful of them, and sometimes two or three within each song.

Gabe Howard: Well, I can’t wait to check that out and I hope all of my listeners do as well. Alanis, thank you so much for being here.

Alanis Morissette: Oh, my gosh. Thanks for this conversation, Gabe. I really appreciate it. Thank you for for exactly addressing the thing that that you mentioned, being challenging in terms of seeing that the planet seemingly isn’t open to some of what we dwell in. But I have to tell you, so many people are. Millions are.

Gabe Howard: Absolutely. I know from my one-on-one conversations and my email that people are absolutely into it. So.

Alanis Morissette: Yeah. We’re all out there. We’re all doing it. Some of us hanging by a thread. But we’re still here.

Gabe Howard: Well,

Alanis Morissette: Yeah.

Gabe Howard: A big thank you to all of my listeners as well. My name is Gabe Howard and I am the author of “Mental Illness Is an Asshole and Other Observations,”

Alanis Morissette: [Laughter] Nice.

Gabe Howard: As well as an award-winning public speaker who could be available for your next event. My book is on Amazon because, well, everything’s on Amazon or you can get a signed copy with free show swag or learn more about me over at My favorite part, Alanis, of hosting this podcast,

Alanis Morissette: Yes.

Gabe Howard: And we’re done now. The recorders are still on, so don’t

Alanis Morissette: Okay.

Gabe Howard: Say anything that’ll get me fired. But my favorite part is that every

Alanis Morissette: Okay.

Gabe Howard: Single guest laughs at “Mental Illness Is an Asshole.” It’s the number one thing I love about doing the show.

Alanis Morissette: I wonder why, Gabe?

Gabe Howard: Yeah, I don’t know. I thought it was a pretty innocuous title.

Alanis Morissette: [Laughter]

Gabe Howard: I just.

Alanis Morissette: Oh, yeah. Super innocuous.

Gabe Howard: Does it mean something?

Alanis Morissette: Doesn’t nail it on the jugular.

Gabe Howard: Alanis, thank you so, so much. I know you have to get going.

Alanis Morissette: Yeah.

Gabe Howard: I really appreciate the time.

Alanis Morissette: Yeah. Thank you. Gabe, I can’t wait to read your book. And thanks for all you’re doing in the world. I salute you and appreciate you.

Gabe Howard: Aww, thank you so much. And thank you to our listeners. Please follow or subscribe to the show, it is absolutely free. And do me a favor? Recommend the show to a friend, family member, or colleague. Referring the show is how we grow. I will see everybody next Tuesday on Inside Mental Health.

Announcer: You’ve been listening to Inside Mental Health: A Psych Central Podcast from Healthline Media. Have a topic or guest suggestion? E-mail us at Previous episodes can be found at or on your favorite podcast player. Thank you for listening.