Going Gaga Over Lady Gaga’s Openness

An important part of person’s health includes mental health.  Currently, mental health has a stigma within culture and health care in general.  Often, people who express their symptoms of mental distress, such as ‘unable to get out of bed,’ ‘feeling tired all the time,’ ‘aching,’ ‘feeling anxious,’ etc. are often told to just “rub some dirt in it and get over it.”

This is obviously not a beneficial way to help with such mental stress.  Lady Gaga recently shared her her personal experience with mental health and PTSD.  In her personal letter, she explained how she finally found the cause of her chronic pain and what she described as changes in her brain was related to PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Within her letter, she goes in depth about her symptoms, and how her doctors have explained what is going on at the physical level.  For instance, she describes dissociation, in which her brain does not want to relieve pain from her previous experiences.  As a result, this causes her to “look off and stare in a glazed-over state.”  Physiologically, her pre-frontal cortex, the part of the brain that controls logical thought, is being dominated by her amygdala, the source of emotional memory.  As a result, she is kicked off into a fight or flight response and becomes paralyzed by fear.

Lady Gaga further details how her PTSD has led to depression and increased anxiety.  When she is unable to control her anxiety, it sometimes results in somatization.  Somatization occurs when a person has intense thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to real physical symptoms that interfere with daily life.  The pain symptoms are not being ‘faked,’ but are instead an extreme reaction to previous or current events.

Appropriately, Lady Gaga has been undergoing medical care for these symptoms, including psychotherapy and medication prescribed by a psychiatrist.  In the letter, she urges those who feel ashamed about their “invisible illness” to seek treatment and seek healing.  Finally, she expresses that treating others with positive and kind words can have quite the difference.

Personally, I am ecstatic that Lady Gaga has been so open about this topic.  I personally know individuals who have been diagnosed with PTSD, veterans and civilians alike.  While I still struggle to express details of my experience, I am also currently being treated for symptoms and effects of PTSD.  It provides great relief that Lady Gaga has told her story publicly as it has started to bring more focus on treatable mental conditions.  Brushing such illnesses “under the rug” can only lead to further distress, and I encourage anyone to seek help.

I’ll finish with sources for those interested:

A Quick Guide to PTSD

National Institute for Mental Health PTSD Info

Somatization – US National Library of Medicine

Finally, if you are in crisis now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8225).

I am so thankful to Greg Todd & Smart Success PT for all that I have learned about physical therapy and businessPre-register for  Smart Success that re-launches in January. Be the first to know how to Change you Career!!

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