Earlier this week, Lady Gaga announced during a charity segment on US morning television show, ‘Today‘, that she had been diagnosed with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
The singer didn’t go into her diagnosis, simply saying how grateful she was for support.
Now, she’s written a beautifully eloquent open letter for her charity foundation, ‘Born This Way Foundation‘, which delves into her symptoms of PTSD, and encourages others with the condition to speak up and get treatment.
She describes her symptoms, explaining that her triggers are memories of injuring herself from exhaustion while on tour:
“I also struggle with triggers from the memories I carry from my feelings of past years on tour when my needs and requests for balance were being ignored. I was overworked and not taken seriously when I shared my pain and concern that something was wrong.I ultimately ended up injured on the Born This Way Ball. That moment and the memory of it has changed my life forever. The experience of performing night after night in mental and physical pain ingrained in me a trauma that I relive when I see or hear things that remind me of those days.”
She explains her symptoms, or what happens when she experiences these triggers.
“I also experience something called dissociation which means that my mind doesn’t want to relive the pain so “I look off and I stare” in a glazed over state. “
“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 paralysed with fear.When this happens I can’t talk. 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. “
“Additionally, 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.”
The singer encourages anyone struggling with these symptoms to talk to a doctor immediately, saying “there is much hope for recovery”.
Read the full letter on the BTW website: bornthisway.foundation/personal-letter-gaga/
Source: Born This Way Foundation.
Photo: Stuart C. Wilson / Getty.
If you or someone you love has or believes they have PTSD, you can talk to someone at beyondblue. You can get 24/7 support on 1300 22 4636, or chat to someone (3pm – 12am, 7 days) at beyondblue.org.au.