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Lady Gaga (Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta), a world-renowned pop star, recently opened up about her struggles with mental health in a candid interview with CBS Sunday Morning. She admitted to feeling hate toward her fame and her stage persona, saying that they made her feel exhausted and drained.
Fame takes a toll
Gaga revealed, “I hated being famous, I hated being a star, I felt exhausted and used up." The pop star’s mental health took a turn for the worse around the same time her album “Joanne” released. The emotional record delves into themes of family and emphasizes Gaga’s vocals in a way that stands out among her previous releases.
The singer admitted, “It’s not always easy if you have mental issues to let other people see." Gaga explained, “I used to show, I used to self-harm, I used to say, ‘Look I cut myself, see I’m hurting.’ Because I didn’t think anyone could see, because mental health, it’s invisible."
Gaga talked about how being swamped by fans everywhere she went was particularly triggering, as it made her realize how much her stage persona had taken over her life, casting Stefani into the shadows. “My biggest enemy is Lady Gaga, that’s what I was thinking. My biggest enemy is her," Gaga said.
“You can’t have dinner with your family without it being about you, it’s always about you,” she said. “And your outfits, look at your outfits. Why you gotta be like that?”
During this time, the singer recalls having suicidal thoughts on a daily basis. “I didn’t really understand why I should live other than to be there for my family," she said. “That was an actual real thought and feeling, ‘why should I stick around?’" This got to a point where she was under the watch of others in her home to ensure her safety.
Despite being vocal about her issues with mental health throughout her career, the Academy Award winner confessed that she focused on her music instead of dealing with past traumas. Gaga was sexually assaulted early on in her career and has been suffering from PTSD and fibromyalgia since before she ever started working on her newest album “Chromatica.”
Since the release of “Chromatica,” Gaga said she has found a way to love herself and her piano again. “I don’t hate Lady Gaga anymore," she said. “Now I look at this piano and I go, ‘Ugh, my God, my piano, my piano that I love so much. My piano that lets me speak, my piano that lets me make poetry. My piano that’s mine.’”
Opening a dialogue
Research shows that despite the widespread impact of mental health issues, which has even intensified during the pandemic, it is still very hard for many to speak about their mental health and to seek help when needed. Stereotypes and the stigma surrounding mental health struggles often prevent people from being open about the topic. In order to change this, many celebrities have begun to candidly speak about their own struggles with mental illnesses, in order to normalize the conversation.
Prince Harry revealed to The Telegraph in 2017 how he “shut down all his emotions” for almost two decades following the sudden passing of his mother, Princess Diana. This led to an “almost complete breakdown” when he was 28-years-old and finally the decision to seek professional help to address his grief.
Now the royal is very vocal about his struggles, and he even established the Heads Together foundation to help “end the stigma around mental health issues." He added, “The experience that I have is that once you start talking about it, you suddenly realize that actually, you’re part of quite a big club."
Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson is another public figure who has openly discussed his struggles with “three depressions” following injuries in his freshman year of college. He recollects that, at that time, he didn’t know what it was.
“I didn’t know why I didn’t want to do anything. I had never experienced anything like that," he said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I didn’t want to do a thing," he recalled. “I didn’t want to go anywhere. I was crying constantly. Eventually you reach a point where you are all cried out."
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, visit www.nami.org for helpful resources.
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