PTSD is fast becoming one of the best-known mental health conditions. With widening awareness of its effects upon soldiers and survivors of war, more and more people are coming forth to speak about their experience with the disorder. One population is surging with their accounts of living with it: survivors of sexual assault. Leading the way is one brave and famous face: Lady Gaga.
At a recent stop by the “Today” show last week, the superstar revealed her diagnosis, which came two years after admitting her sexual assault at 19. The full letter of her admission has been published on her Born This Way Foundation website, and it’s a true testament to living with the disorder. She goes into great detail about her diagnosis, and the conditions that affect her regularly. Many of us can relate.
Here is a small sample of Gaga’s letter:
“Traditionally, many associate PTSD as a condition faced by brave men and women that serve countries all over the world. While this is true, I seek to raise awareness that this mental illness affects all kinds of people, including our youth. I pledge not only to help our youth not feel ashamed of their own conditions, but also to lend support to those servicemen and women who suffer from PTSD. No one’s invisible pain should go unnoticed.
I am doing various modalities of psychotherapy and am on medicine prescribed by my psychiatrist. However, I believe that the most inexpensive and perhaps the best medicine in the world is words. Kind words… positive words… words that help people who feel ashamed of an invisible illness to overcome their shame and feel free. This is how I and we can begin to heal. I am starting today, because secrets keep you sick. And I don’t want to keep this secret anymore.”
We hope more people — famous or otherwise — will continue the conversations around post-traumatic stress disorder. The more we shine a light into mental health, the sooner the day will arrive when the stigma is no more. We salute Lady Gaga and all those willing to speak their truth about mental health. Let’s all live in the light of the truth and create our way to a brighter future.