Lady Gaga shares what it is like to live with trauma, mental illness and fibromyalgia
Before the release of the movie “A Star Is Born,” starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, the singer opened in a new interview with Vogue on coexistence with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and fibromyalgia. In the interview, which was published on Monday, he described how he experiences the trauma.
“I always say that trauma has a brain,” he said. “And it makes its way in everything you do.”
Lady Gaga highlights an aspect of living with a trauma that could be related: trauma can appear anywhere in a survivor’s daily life. The body’s natural response to trauma is a fight or flight stress response. Once the danger is over, the body can be trapped in that state of high stress, which sometimes leads to mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder. The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can include flashbacks, be on the alert and feel “stuck”. Lady Gaga also described some of the physical symptoms of the disease. She told Vogue:
I feel dazed. Or atrophied. Do you know that feeling when you’re on a roller coaster and you’re about to go down the really steep slope? What fear and the drop in your stomach? My diaphragm takes over. Then I have difficulty breathing, and my whole body is spasmed. And I start crying. That’s what it feels like for trauma victims every day, and it’s miserable.
Lady Gaga revealed for the first time that she had been raped by a music producer when she was 19 during an episode of “The Howard Stern Show” in 2014. In a 2016 interview with Today, Lady Gaga shared that she had PTSD as a result of her experience . After the release of his Netflix documentary of 2017, “Five Foot Two”, which continued its fight against chronic pain, was launched on Twitter to raise awareness about fibromyalgia.
Since then, she has been a vocal advocate for other people living with mental illnesses, chronic illnesses or who have survived sexual assault. This included a touching performance at the 2016 Oscars of “Til It Happens To You,” the song that Gaga wrote for the 2015 documentary on sexual assault on college campuses, “The Hunting Ground.”
In addition to living with the secondary effects of the trauma, Gaga opened herself to discover her diagnosis of fibromyalgia, chronic pain and the frustration of living with an invisible disease. She told Vogue:
I am so irritated by people who do not believe that fibromyalgia is real. For me, and I think for many others, it’s really a cyclone of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma and panic disorder, all of which sends the nervous system to overload, and as a result it has nerve pain. People need to be more compassionate. Chronic pain is not a joke. And every day he wakes up without knowing how you’re going to feel.
Lady Gaga emphasizes that for many people, especially women, trauma and fibromyalgia can be linked. Fibromyalgia is a disorder of pain processing in the central nervous system. The chronic pain condition works in the body in a similar way to the hyper-active fight-flight stress response that can also occur with trauma. Despite its possible link to mental illnesses that Gaga highlights in the interview, fibromyalgia is a distinct chronic pain condition and not a psychiatric disorder.
“Women who end up with fibromyalgia … have a much higher correlation in having stories that involve some level of trauma,” Dr. David Brady, vice president of health sciences at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut and author of “The Fibro Fix “The Mighty said. “I do not want to be misunderstood saying that this is a disorder of women, they are all inventing it because they had a trauma … It’s a physiological response to a scenario and it’s absolutely real.” It is a different thing. It is really pain. They are not inventing this.
Lady Gaga has spoken about the challenges of living with a mental health condition and a chronic illness, although making the decision to share was not easy. “For me, with my mental health problems, at the beginning half of the battle was like I was lying to the world because I was feeling a lot of pain but nobody knew,” said Gaga. “That’s why I went out and said I have PTSD, because I do not want to hide more from what I already have.”
Through her advocacy efforts and talking about her own story, Lady Gaga wants to use her platform to foster more kindness in the world. “I have my unique existence, like everyone else, and at the end of the day, it is our humanity that connects us, our bodies and our biology,” said Gaga. “That’s what generates compassion and empathy, and those are the things that matter most to me