Ahead of the release of the film “A Star Is Born,” which stars Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, the singer opened up in a new interview with Vogue about living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and fibromyalgia. In the interview, which was published Monday, she described how she experiences trauma Lady Gaga highlights an aspect of living with trauma that might be relatable — trauma can show up anywhere in a survivor’s daily life. The body’s natural response to trauma is a fight or flight stress response. After the danger is over, the body can get stuck in that heightened stress state, which sometimes leads to mental health conditions like PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD may include flashbacks, always being on alert and feeling “keyed up.” Lady Gaga also described some of the physical symptoms of the condition. She told Vogue:
Lady Gaga first revealed she had been raped by a music producer when she was 19 years old during an episode of “The Howard Stern Show” in 2014. In a 2016 interview with Today, Lady Gaga shared that she had PTSD as a result of her experience. After the release of her 2017 Netflix documentary “Five Foot Two,” that followed her struggle with chronic pain, she took to Twitter to raise awareness about fibromyalgia.
Lady Gaga highlights that for many people, women especially, trauma and fibromyalgia may be linked. Fibromyalgia is a pain processing disorder in the central nervous system. The chronic pain condition functions in the body similarly to the hypervigilant fight-flight stress response that can also occur with trauma. Despite its possible link to the mental illnesses Gaga highlights in the interview, fibromyalgia is a distinct chronic pain condition and not a psychiatric disorder.
“Women who end up with fibromyalgia…have a much, much higher correlation in having histories that involve some level of trauma,” Dr. David Brady, vice president for health sciences at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut and author of “The Fibro Fix,” told The Mighty. “I don’t want that to be misinterpreted into me saying this is a disorder of women, they’re all making it up because they had trauma….It’s a physiological response to a scenario and it absolutely is real. It’s a distinct thing. It’s really pain. They’re not making this up.”
Through her advocacy efforts and by speaking out about her own story, Lady Gaga wants to use her platform to foster more kindness in the world. “I have my unique existence, just as everyone else does, and at the end of the day, it’s our humanity that connects us — our bodies and our biology,” Gaga said. “That’s what breeds compassion and empathy, and those are the things that I care the most about.”