Diagnosis by Alanis Morissette

This week’s Song of the Week was recommended by MIA writer and contributor J.A. Carter-Winward: “Back in the early 00s, I vaguely recall hearing that Ms. Morissette had bipolar disorder. At the time, I was trying to embrace my own ill-fitting (and incorrect, it turns out) diagnosis. Then, in 2020, I came across this song from her new album, “Such Pretty Forks in the Road.” She, like me, no longer resonated with a reductive label. “Call it what you want / ‘Cause I don’t even care anymore / Call it what you need to / To make yourself comfortable…”

It’s a vulnerable song that speaks to the isolation that accompanies a diagnosis. It’s as if we’ve forgotten how messy the human condition is. How can we possibly understand what it means to be human if we accept these invisible brands on our self-concepts meant to dictate our behavior? When I heard this song, I wanted to reach out to Alanis and ask her if she’d found that “glimpse of ease” she hadn’t felt in so long. I hope she has.”

-J.A. Carter-Winward


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. J. A. Carter-Winward, thank you for this post.What you sayis true for me as well, and unfortunately as someone stuck for years labeled and controlled by psychiatrists who have NO expertise whatsoever!!!!!, I have a huge residue of anger at them, because I will probably not get fully off psych meds in this life. It is the fault of a chauvinistic, nature destroying, elitist caste system society. I will have to listen to those two songs of ALanis Morrisette. I also felt she was an eclectic artist, but what you said helps me get a better picture of her. Peace and self wisdom and happiness to you! Eadward Kaitz

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  2. Woke this morn & it hit me…why have her songs resonated for so long with me, gotten me thru darkest hours, inspired during times of bliss & creativity? Ah ha! She, too was long ago labeled! Despite these labels, which for sure, at times, feel EXTREMELY degrading, thank God for them. How else could these limited human brains of ours create a common language effective enough to develop therapies & even Rx’s (necessary in some cases) to support the we’s with what I prefer to call.. “Genius Disorder” ? Thank u Alanis for having the AMAZING COURAGE to sing your truths out to the world.

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