Grammy Awards: Lady Gaga helps SZA up onto stage
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Having severely struggled with her mental health, Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta shared that she was “so sad” and was only able to overcome her demons with love and trust of those around her. This is not the first time the Born This Way singer has spoken openly about her past with mental and physical health struggles, as back in 2020 she sat down with Oprah Winfrey where she revealed that she lives with a chronic pain disorder known as fibromyalgia and has experienced a psychotic break.
Tweeting ahead of her upcoming Chromaica Ball tour, which starts today (July 17), the singer posted: “There was a time I thought I’d never be on stage again. I was so sad I couldn’t even dream anything but a painful nightmare.
“I’ve overcome my nightmare with love, support, trust, truth, bravery, talent and dedication. I am so grateful. I’ll see you in BABYLON #ChromaticaBall.”
Being open about her mental health in the past, Gaga explained how she discovered she was having a psychotic break, describing that her “whole body started tingling” and she started “screaming”.
She added: “I was in a hospital. It’s very difficult to describe what it feels like other than that you first start to tingle from head to toe and then you go numb.
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“The brain goes, ‘That’s enough, I don’t want to think about this anymore. I don’t want to feel this anymore.’ Boom. You break from reality as you know it.”
The singer has also shared that she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after she claimed to have suffered months of abuse at the hand of a music producer.
Taking a remarkable view on how she deals with the chronic pain, both mental and physical, that she has been left with, Gaga added: “This happened for a reason. All the things I’ve been through. I was supposed to go through this.
She added: “I radically accepted they happened because God was saying to me, ‘I’m gonna show you pain. And then you’re going to help other people who are in pain because you’re going to understand it’.”
When asked what the term fibromyalgia means during the candid interview with Winfrey, Gaga responded by saying: “That is a very big question Oprah,” before going on to describe it as a “chronic pain condition”.
She added: “It makes your body hurt through your brain… even sitting here with you today I’m in head to toe pain.”
The NHS describes the condition, which is also known as FMS as a long-term condition that causes “pain all over the body”. Although the exact cause remains unknown, it is thought to be related to abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain.
These chemicals change the way that the central nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord and nerves, process messages carried around the body, leading to severe symptoms.
Along with an increased sensitivity to pain, other symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- Muscle stiffness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Problems with mental processes (known as “fibro-fog”), such as problems with memory and concentration
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a digestive condition that causes stomach pain and bloating.
Other potential causes of the condition is inheritance from parents and a trigger due to a physically or emotionally stressful event like giving birth.
Affecting anyone, the condition traditionally develops between the ages of 30 and 50, and is seven times more likely to affect women in comparison to men. Some estimates suggest nearly one in 20 people may be affected by fibromyalgia to some degree.
Currently there is no cure for the condition, but treatments can help to relieve some of the symptoms and make an individual’s life easier.
These treatments tend to be a combination of the following:
- Medicine, such as antidepressants and painkillers
- Talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling
- Lifestyle changes, such as exercise programmes and relaxation techniques.
Exercise in particular is recommended to help relieve pain. This can include a range of aerobic exercise and stretching as well as putting a cold compress on areas of particular pain to help ease any swelling that occurs.
For Gaga, having the condition has meant that she now actively seeks out ways in which she can help others. She finished by saying: “Now, when I see someone in pain I can’t look away. I’m in pain too. Now, I’m in problem-solving mode. I’ve got my suit on and my heels and I’m ready to go.”
Fibromyalgia Action UK is a charity that offers information and support to anyone who has fibromyalgia. Contact the telephone service on 0300 999 3333.
Mind is a mental health charity which offers support and information for all. Contact the telephone service on 0300 123 3393.
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