Lady Gaga opens up about being suicidal: ‘People made sure I was safe’

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.”

“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.”

[From CBS News]

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.

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🚨 My biggest enemy is me, pop a 911 🚨

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Hello NEEEEW YOOORK!!! 🍎🌹💋

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12 Responses to “Lady Gaga opens up about being suicidal: ‘People made sure I was safe’”

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  1. Paperclip says:

    Depression is no joke. And it’s so hard for those who don’t suffer from it to understand how hard it can sometimes be to simply get out of bed, or get dressed for the day, or focus. It takes soooo much strength to get through a few hours, much less the entire day, sometimes. Like moving in glue with quicksand thrown in for fun. Thanks for writing about this, Oya.

  2. ce says:

    To this day, even though I often second-guess the decision, I am very forthright about my struggles with anxiety, depression, and OCD. I am probably qualified as ‘high functioning’ so I try to be honest about it. My reasoning is that, when I was young I thought I was crazy and that it would limit my options for education and work. I’m proud of what I overcame despite that stigma, so I want other people to know it’s possible, especially young women

    • ooshpick says:

      me too. when the worst hits i tell myself that i represent for an army of people who haven’t had the privileges i have had in working with this strange beast. it gives me another reason to keep on keeping on :)

  3. Anna says:

    I side-eye LG for a lot of reasons (not the least of which is her morphing lips…what happened to “Born this Way”…?) but glad she got the help she needed.

    And re: sympathy: I think it’s okay to share for sympathy. Let’s not place a value judgement on sharing to help others versus needing individual sympathy. As humans, we need sympathy sometimes, and for many, no one knows what you’re going through even if you try to hint at it. People around you especially family get used to seeing you in a particular light and treat you a certain way. Being nurtured is important and it’s a balm to the heart when others show care and compassion for what you’re going through.

  4. Daphne says:

    I am glad celebrities are opening up about their mental health struggles to reduce the stigma. In my job, I am very open about taking time for my psych appointments and that I have panic disorder. I feel like it is important for the people I manage to see that taking time for their mental health is okay and I support time off, no questions asked. But it isn’t the norm in my company. No one should feel obligated to share but when I told my friends about PD I was surprised how many of them were struggling with mental health too. I also learned it runs in my family and had no idea I shared my diagnosis. Sudden onset panic attacks are a private hell and you think you are dying. Therapy and medication have helped me significantly but I have a long journey ahead.

  5. Job says:

    I too struggled with suicidal thoughts in my teens and my early twenties. I wish I had never told anyone about it

    Some days I feel like if I were hit by a car, etc. I would be okay with it

    • Ashley says:

      I feel that way a lot of the time these days Job. The sad thing is you can’t say it because then people make you feel bad “there are people who aren’t healthy and aren’t as lucky to you” and if I could I would trade them but I can’t, that doesn’t minimize the pain I feel every single day.

      • Ocean Girl says:


        I came across this analogy which I really like: One person is shot in the chest, another in the leg. The person who got shot in the chest is worse off, but both victims need help.

        I have also been told “remember, other people have it worse than you.” Yeah, a great thing to hear when you’re wishing that everything would just end.

        Hugs for you, for all of us, who feel the pain every_damn_day. <3

  6. tealily says:

    I’ve dealt with depression and especially anxiety for a long time, and my anxiety has really spiked over the last couple months. Just today I was reading a study that said that internet searches for panic attacks and self care for anxiety have spiked during the pandemic and it made me realize that it really is a lot of us going through these things, especially now. I’m always glad to hear people talking about mental health. Let’s all try to be kind and patient with each other.

  7. Laura says:

    I’m very happy she’s talking about her mental health. It’s so important for all of us to talk about our struggles and what’s worked for us so we know that we are not alone. Thanks for sharing with us, Oya & posting about this.

  8. Moo says:

    This resonates and I’m glad she’s sharing her experience. I’ve spent so much of my life just waiting to die. I’m finally getting a form of counseling which has shown me that hope and light are possible. I’m glad I did not die by suicide..

  9. EviesMom says:

    Mental health issues Are very isolating. I had post natal anxiety and no one ever knew. But for months I was wracked with nightmares, panic attacks. I wasn’t able to enjoy the first 6 months of my sons life. no one knew. I still feel guilty that I should have known (I’m a social worker). But that’s the trick – mental health – depression & anxiety lie.

    Moo, I’m glad you are here to your share your story. We all have something to bring to the table, even if we are sharing our sadness. Stay safe, talk to your therapist, know that you will be ok.