Lady Gaga released her new album, Chromatica, in May. Her single Rain On Me, a duet with Ariana Grande, is a return to Gaga’s pop-techno origins. The song is a real bop and the video won an MTV Award.
The lyrics to Rain On Me give fans a peek into the rest of the album. Gaga even penned a song called “911,” which is a reference to her anxiety medication. The video for the song was released last week. Gaga, in an interview with CBS’s Lee Cowan, said writing the album was therapeutic and a way of coming back to herself. Gaga also spoke about the PTSD she suffers from after being sexually assaulted at 19. For several years she was suicidal, all while she put out upbeat-sounding music. Here are a few excerpts from the interview:
She had just hit 30. “Joanne” hit #1, but Gaga had hit a wall. “It’s not always easy, if you have mental issues, to let other people see,” she said. “I used to show. I used to self-harm. I used to say, ‘Look. I cut myself. See, I’m hurt,’ ’cause I didn’t think anyone could see. ‘Cause mental health, it’s invisible.”
Invisible and insidious. Combined with the PTSD from being sexually assaulted at 19 – something she didn’t even talk about until a few years ago – those close to her knew the dangers.
“The people around me, they lifted me up, and they said, ‘You think you’re drowning, but you’re not. You’re still amazing.’ And I used to go, ‘I’m not amazing. I’m over.’”
“You really felt like it was over?” asked Cowan.
“I didn’t really understand why I should live other than to be there for my family.” She replied. “That was an actual real thought and feeling: Why should I stick around?”
“Did you think about suicide?”
“Oh, yeah. Every day.”
“Yeah. I lived in this house while people watched me for a couple years, to make sure that I was safe,” she said.
Her mental anguish presented physical pain, too. In her 2017 Netflix documentary, “Gaga: 5 Foot Two,” it was on full display.
She said, “Most of the time it is triggered by objectification. If I’m at the grocery store, and somebody comes up very close to me and puts a cellphone right in my face, and just starts taking pictures … ”
“That triggers it?”
“Oh, just total panic, full body pain,” Gaga said. “I’m braced because I’m so afraid. It’s like I’m an object, I’m not a person.”
I am someone very open about my PTSD, anxiety and chronic depression, but not because I want sympathy. I hope that my being open will reach someone in their moment of need. Depression in itself can feel very isolating and like a perpetual dark cloud enveloping you. I cannot imagine having that experience while in the very critical and sometimes mean-spirited public eye.
I have loved Gaga’s extremely Drag Queenesque style and music since Just Dance. We would play her continuously at the Mac counters at that time. Her music had a way of just transporting me to a happy place when I was feeling low. To me she is somewhat a national treasure, especially in the queer community which I support. It makes me truly sad that her greatest gift comes with the most extreme pain. And that she cannot just be the creative weirdo that she is without having to fend off judgmental people.
I am glad that she has embraced her alter ego Lady Gaga while integrating that part of her personality with her true self. It is hard enough out there to keep it together without feeling fragmented. Hopefully Gaga’s openness will help help others seek help as well as normalize the conversation around depression, anxiety, PTSD and suicide. It is a very much needed conversation to have globally. I also hope she continues to get the support she needs because a world without Gaga would be quite bleak in my opinion.