During Avril Lavigne's loneliest moments while recovering from Lyme disease, she relied on the support of her family – and her fans.
"It's depressing to be staring at your ceiling," the singer, 30, says of being bedridden for five months.
"So I spent a lot of time on my phone and was on Twitter a lot ... [My fans] were asking about me since I was MIA, so I mentioned to one fan directly that I wasn’t feeling good."
That private Twitter message in December went viral and unleashed a swell of support.
"The get-well messages and videos they sent touched me so deeply. I lay in bed watching them and cried so much because I felt loved," says Lavigne. "It was so powerful and beautiful."
She also says that having new music for her fans bolstered her spirits. This month, she'll release "Fly" – her new single in support of the 2015 Special Olympics.
"Knowing that I have the release of the song to look forward to and knowing that my fans were waiting for the new music helped me stay alive inside during some of my darkest times," she says.
But it wasn't just strangers getting her through the tough patches – her mom moved in with her for four months to help take care of her, and her husband, Nickelback's Chad Kroeger, 40, was also there as much as possible, in between recording a new album and having to go on a world tour.
Shrugging off any rumors of marital strife, Lavigne says of her husband, "He's been very supportive."
To find out more about Lyme disease, click here and here.
For more on the singer's journey – including her plans for future – pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday