During a recent interview with Today, Lady Gaga revealed that she struggles with PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Now the singer has shared an open letter about what exactly that struggle entails.
Posted on the website of Gaga's Born This Way foundation, the letter reveals that the star experiences symptoms of her illness every single day. "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," Gaga wrote. "Examples are leaving the house or being touched by strangers who simply want to share their enthusiasm for my music."
Gaga also shared that she experiences dissociative episodes. "My mind doesn’t want to relive the pain so 'I look off and I stare' in a glazed over state," she wrote, quoting the lyrics to her song "Million Reasons." "As my doctors have taught me, I cannot express my feelings because my pre-frontal cortex (the part of the brain that controls logical, orderly thought) is overridden by the amygdala (which stores emotional memory) and sends me into a fight or flight response. My body is in one place and my mind in another. It’s like the panic accelerator in my mind gets stuck and I am paralyzed with fear.
"When this happens I can’t talk," she continued. "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. When I am unable to regulate my anxiety, it can result in somatization, which is pain in the body caused by an inability to express my emotional pain in words."
Though it's not an easy fight, it's one Gaga is willing to keep on fighting for the sake of her music. "I am a strong and powerful woman who is aware of the love I have around me from my team, my family and friends, my doctors and from my incredible fans who I know will never give up on me," she wrote. "I will never give up on my dreams of art and music. I am continuing to learn how to transcend this because I know I can. If you relate to what I am sharing, please know that you can too."