After revealing her diagnosis in a Today segment that aired Monday on NBC, the “Perfect Illusion” singer published an open letter via her Born This Way Foundation‘s website Tuesday.
For five years, the 30-year-old pop music superstars said she “wrestled” with whether she should share her story publicly. “There is a lot of shame attached to mental illness,” Gaga explained, “but it’s important that you know that there is hope and a chance for recovery.”
From the outside looking in, few would guess Gaga has PTSD. “It is a daily effort for me, even during this album cycle, to regulate my nervous system so that I don’t panic over circumstances that to many would seem like normal life situations,” she wrote. “Examples are leaving the house or being touched by strangers who simply want to share their enthusiasm for my music.”
PTSD has affected the musician’s life in other ways, too.
Gaga explained that she often experiences 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 paralyzed with fear.”
“Additionally, when I am unable to regulate my anxiety, it can result in somatization,” Gaga said, “which is pain in the body caused by an inability to express my emotional pain in words.”
But as her Little Monsters well know, Gaga isn’t one to give up.
“If you relate to what I am sharing,” Gaga added, “please know that you can too.”