Earlier this week, Lady Gaga revealed her struggles with PTSD to viewers during an episode of the Today Show. Now the Joanne singer has written an open letter on the subject in an attempt to combat stigma and open a conversation surrounding mental health.
Through her Born This Way Foundation, Gaga opened up about her illness and the way it affects her daily life. The singer also took to Twitter to explain her PTSD comes not only as a result of her sexual assault, but also from “prolonged repetitive traumas over the course of [her] career.”
“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,” she writes. “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.”
Gaga details her experiences with depression and dissociation, and explains how easily her traumatic memories are triggered. With such a physically trying touring schedule, she discusses the impact PTSD has had on herself and career.
— xoxo, Joanne (@ladygaga) December 6, 2016
I wrote a letter sharing my experience w/ PTSD. I want 2 help others understand what it is + how to get or give help https://t.co/7wmuvNLcT5
— xoxo, Joanne (@ladygaga) December 7, 2016
“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 many would seem like normal life situations,” she says. “[…] 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. It’s harder to do my job. It’s harder to do simple things like take a shower. Everything has become harder.”
Gaga closes her essay by sharing the tools she’s used to help her cope with this illness, and vowing to help others struggling with PTSD.
“No one’s invisible pain should go unnoticed,” she urges.
For Gaga, nothing has been more healing than being heard.
“I believe that the most inexpensive and perhaps the best medicine in the world is words. Kind words, positive words, words that help people who feel ashamed of an invisible illness to overcome their shame and feel free. This is how I and we can begin to heal,” she saha. “I am starting today, because secrets keep you sick. And I don’t want to keep this secret anymore.”
Read Gaga’s full essay, here.