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Lady Gaga opens up about her struggle with PTSD

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Moya Crockett
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Lady Gaga has spoken out about her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The 30-year-old singer revealed in 2014 that she had been raped at the age of 19 – and has used her platform as one of the most famous women in the world to raise awareness of the issue of sexual assault.

However, this is the first time that she has disclosed the full long-term impact of the assault on her mental health.

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Lady Gaga appeared onstage with survivors of sexual assault at the Annual Academy Awards in February this year.

In an interview with the Today show that aired on NBC on Monday, Gaga – real name Stefani Germanotta – explained that she had visited New York’s Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBT youth in November. While there, she spoke to the centre’s young residents about her struggle with PTSD.

“I told the kids… that I suffer from mental illness,” the multiple-Grammy-award-winner said. “I suffer from PTSD. I’ve never told anyone that before, so here we are. But the kindness that’s shown to me by doctors as well as my family, and my friends, it’s really saved my life.”



Gaga was also filmed addressing a group of young people at the centre. “I have a mental illness, and I struggle with that mental illness every day,” she said.

She told the group that “meditation helps me to calm down”, and shared the mantra which she said helps her stay in control of her PTSD: “You are brave, you are courageous.”

A young person at the centre told the Today show: “Lady Gaga’s act of kindness today was a reminder that love still exists – and that there’s still some for me.”

After the visit, Gaga tweeted about the importance of speaking out about sexual assault and mental illness.

“Today I shared one of my deepest secrets w/ the world,” she wrote. “Secrets keep you sick w/ shame.”

Gaga first spoke publicly about her rape two years ago. “I was about 19,” she told radio DJ Howard Stern. “I went to Catholic school and then all this crazy stuff happened, and I was going, ‘Oh, is this just the way adults are?’... I was very naïve.”



“It happens every day, and it’s really scary, and it’s sad,” she continued.

The singer said that she didn’t begin to process the true impact of the rape until she was in her mid-twenties – and she didn’t tell anyone about what had happened to her for seven years. “I was so traumatized by it that I was like, ‘Just keep going’,” she told Stern. “Because I just had to get out of there.”

Watch: What not to say to an anxiety sufferer

The 2015 documentary The Hunting Ground, about the problem of sexual assault on American college campuses, featured an original song – ’Til It Happens to You – co-written, recorded and produced by Lady Gaga. Speaking about her involvement in the film, Gaga said that her attacker was someone she knew in the music industry.

“I was already Lady Gaga when it happened,” she said. “It was someone that I knew, and it was done to manipulate me in conjunction with money and my music, and it was terrifying.

“It's something that changed me forever, and it made me question everything about what I had done to be where I am today. I thought to myself, ‘Did I do something wrong to bring this on myself? What did I do?’”

She added that she was still dealing with the psychological ramifications of sexual assault, saying: “I am so sick of people walking in and out of my life telling me that I'm ‘gonna be okay’ because I am still in so much pain that you can't understand.

“The person that I'm singing to is the person that wants to heal me – I'm telling them that they can't.”


If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault or rape or is struggling with PTSD, you can seek advice and support from Rape Crisis, The Survivors Trust and Mind.

Images: Rex Features

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Moya Crockett

Moya is Women’s Editor at stylist.co.uk, where she is currently overseeing the Visible Women campaign. As well as writing about inspiring women and feminism, she also covers subjects including careers, podcasts and politics. Carrying a tiny bottle of hot sauce on her person at all times is one of the many traits she shares with both Beyoncé and Hillary Clinton.

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