Lady Gaga Shares Open Letter About PTSD

Lady Gaga Shares Open Letter About PTSD

The essay sheds new light on her recent single "Million Reasons."

The essay sheds new light on her recent single "Million Reasons."

Text: William Defebaugh

A few days after Lady Gaga appeared on the Today Show, where she opened up for the first time about her battle with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), the singer has shared a personal letter about the condition on her Born This Way Foundation website.

In the essay, titled "Head Stuck In A Cycle I Look Off And I Stare" (a line from "Million Reasons"), Gaga speaks about her frequent struggle with dissociation, a learned response the mind develops after trauma which causes it to separate from the body when faced with triggers (as Gaga explains it, "My body is in one place and my mind in another"). This happens when the pre-frontal cortex (the logical part of the brain) is overridden by the amygdala (where emotional memory and trauma are stored), and is often followed by panic or depression.

When seen in this context, the single from Joanne—an album in which Gaga explores the concept of trauma in-depth—takes on an entirely new meaning. While the most obvious interpretation of "Million Reasons" is that it's about a romantic relationship, it seems to be more than that; having faced the trauma of being on tour for Born This Way and having had her cries of pain gone unheard, she's been given more than a million reasons to "quit the show." But hopefully, her fans have given her a good one to stay.

One of the most difficult aspects of mental health issues is a lack of understanding. When side affects like dissociation occur, it’s easy to feel “crazy,” which can only make the anxiety worse. Aside from consulting a professional, a key step in healing is understanding that mental health conditions are just like physical ones; they happen to a lot of people, and they are treatable. If you suffer from PTSD, depression, or any other condition, know that you are not alone.

Find Gaga's full letter here, along with resources for you or anyone you know that might be suffering from mental health conditions.

Credits: Cover Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret

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