Lady Gaga is known for many things, her extraordinary voice, exuberant costumes (who can’t forget ‘that’ meat dress?) and penning smash hits like ‘Just Dance’. But now she is known for something much more personal—her struggle with mental illness.
Recently revealing she has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Lady Gaga bravely penned an open letter to the world. Published on her Born This Way website, an organisation that she co–founded to empower youth, she explains how the trauma occurred and its ongoing affects.
‘There is a lot of shame attached to mental illness, but it’s important that you know that there is hope and a chance for recovery,’ she writes.
‘It is a daily effort for me, even during this album cycle, to regulate my nervous system so that I don’t panic over circumstances that to (sic) many would seem like normal life situations. Examples are leaving the house or being touched by strangers who simply want to share their enthusiasm for my music.’
Lady Gaga is no stranger to sharing her personal life with the world—she has spoken previously about being a survivor of sexual assault—but the depth of her letter signals a shift occurring in the music industry, and in popular culture as a whole.
Australian singer Sia has talked numerous times about her former drug and alcohol addiction and a suicide attempt. ‘Same Old Love’ singer Selena Gomez revealed she pulled out of her world tour due to ongoing issues with anxiety, and her peer, Demi Lovato, has been spoken openly about her struggle with bi-polar depression, self-injury and an eating disorder after a very public melt down.
And it’s not just females leading the charge. Now a solo artist, Zayn Malik told the world he had an eating disorder during his time with One Direction, and UK superstar James Arthur penned nearly an entire album about his recovery from addiction, appropriately titled, Back from the Edge.
Between the vulnerability of some of our favourite stars and the education provided by organisations such as Beyond Blue, the public has become more aware of mental illness. And, if we look around us, we will find more people who resonate with Lady Gaga’s letter than we realise.
Rather than feeling overwhelmed by this, we can take it as an opportunity to reach out to one an another and ask the simple question, ‘are you okay?’
Lady Gaga says it best in her letter: ‘I believe that the most inexpensive and perhaps the best medicine in the world is words,’ she says. ‘Kind words…positive words…words that help people who feel ashamed of an invisible illness to overcome their shame and feel free.’
If you are struggling, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit BeyondBlue.org.au.
This was published by Warcry. You can read the original here.