Mental health is a global crisis. When stars open up about their personal struggles, it can aid communities and individuals to come together and heal.
Lady Gaga has always been able to wow her audience with her incredible voice and her unique style. But underneath her beauty, exceptional talent, and award-winning self is a woman who is fighting her inner demons with utmost courage and grace. Not only is she open to talking about her mental health, but she is also making conscious efforts to break the stigma around sensitive topics such as the use of medication, therapy, and self-help.
Recently, when in conversation with Oprah Winfrey on her Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus tour in Fort Lauderdale, she spoke about where she is in her life as a perfectly "imperfect person" as reported by Teen Vogue. Back in 2019 during an interview with Winfrey for Elle, she had described what it was like to go through the emotional trauma that lead to a physical condition. She explains how going through abuse triggered PTSD, which in turn manifested a physical condition called fibromyalgia, characterized by physical pain and exhaustion.
She said, "Although there are many different theories about fibromyalgia—for me, my fibromyalgia and my trauma response kind of go hand-in-hand. The fibro for me is a lighter pain; the trauma response is much heavier and actually feels the way I felt after I was dropped on a street corner after I’d been raped repeatedly for months. It’s a recurring feeling. So I had a psychotic break at one point, and it was one of the worst things that’s ever happened to me."
"I was brought to the ER to urgent care and they brought in the doctor, a psychiatrist. So I’m just screaming, and I said, 'Could somebody bring me a real doctor?' And I didn’t understand what was going on, because my whole body went numb; I fully dissociated. I was screaming, and then he calmed me down and gave me medication for when that happens—olanzapine."
"At some point, I had to tell people," the Poker Face singer said. "I can’t live a lie, I’m an authentic person, and here I am, I’m perfectly imperfect, and we all are. We all have our things that we go through. I felt like, 'Why shouldn’t I share this when I share all of myself with the world all the time?' And I could maybe help people that have had psychotic breaks."
Apart from throwing light on important issues, she also discussed how people are still afraid to talk about having to take medication for mental health.
"Medication has helped me tremendously," the A Star Is Born actress said during Oprah's 2020 Vision chat. "I take an anti-psychotic. [If I didn't take it] I would spiral very frequently and I would spasm in my sleep." She added saying, "Medicine really helped me. A lot of people are afraid of medicine for their brains to help them. I really want to erase the stigma around this. I'm sick of saying it over and over again. Not everybody has access to these things, not everybody has money for these things. I want the money for it, I want the best doctors in the world, and I want us to understand the brain and get on the same page about it so Gen Z does not have to deal with this the way we are right now. Mental health is a crisis."
What a brave statement to make, especially when people are waiting to judge others based purely on appearances and what they see on social media. This kind of conversation by a global star helps communities put a lot of things into perspective. While many of us stay quiet and never really let anyone know about it for fear of being considered weak, many others might not be able to take the right medication to help themselves or even be able to afford it. If a celebrity like the Shallow singer can open up about the stigma of using medication to help our brains tackle chemical imbalances and other conditions caused by trauma, there possibly is more chance for organizations and individuals to come together to assist healing at a time when mental health is becoming a global crisis.