Musician Lady Gaga recently revealed in an open letter that she is living with PTSD. In the letter, posted to the Born This Way Foundation website, she discussed her struggle with the condition since being sexually assaulted as a teenager: “I have wrestled for some time about when, how and if I should reveal my diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). After five years of searching for the answers to my chronic pain and the change I have felt in my brain, I am finally well enough to tell you.”
In the letter, Gaga touched on living with and managing the symptoms of the condition, and that she experiences something called dissociation, which can present itself in a range of experiences – she opened up about how it impacted her: “…my mind doesn’t want to relive the pain so ‘I look off and I stare’ in a glazed over state… My body is in one place and my mind in another. It’s like the panic accelerator in my mind gets stuck and I am paralyzed with fear,” she wrote. “When this happens I can’t talk. When this happens repeatedly, it makes me have a common PTSD reaction which is that I feel depressed and unable to function like I used to.” Gaga also revealed she tends to experience somatization, which means she experiences physical pain related to her mental state.
Along with fighting against the stigma associated with mental illness, Lady Gaga also hopes to raise awareness for all people living with PTSD, including those outside of the military: “Traditionally, many associate PTSD as a condition faced by brave men and women that serve countries all over the world,” she wrote. “While this is true, I seek to raise awareness that this mental illness affects all kinds of people, including our youth. I pledge not only to help our youth not feel ashamed of their own conditions, but also to lend support to those servicemen and women who suffer from PTSD. No one’s invisible pain should go unnoticed.”
The news made headlines globally and the musician pledged to continue to share her experiences and manage the condition as best she can. “I will never give up on my dreams of art and music. I am continuing to learn how to transcend this because I know I can. If you relate to what I am sharing, please know that you can too.”
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