Lady Gaga Describes the Lasting Effects of Her Rape Trauma

The A Star Is Born actress shares how PTSD and chronic pain affect her today.

By Samantha Schnurr Sep 10, 2018 2:41 PMTags
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Lady Gaga grapples with the effects of the rape she suffered at 19 to this day. 

As Vogue's October cover star, the triple threat recalled how she first decided to share her story publicly in an effort to ease her private pain. 

"No one else knew. It was almost like I tried to erase it from my brain. And when it finally came out, it was like a big, ugly monster. And you have to face the monster to heal," she told Vogue

Two years after discussing the rape in an interview with Howard Stern, she further shared in a 2016 Today interview that she suffers from PTSD. "For me, with my mental-health issues, half of the battle in the beginning was, I felt like I was lying to the world because I was feeling so much pain but nobody knew," the songstress further told the magazine. "So that's why I came out and said that I have PTSD, because I don't want to hide—any more than I already have to."

Lady Gaga's One-of-a-Kind Street Style

The A Star Is Born actress discussed in detail the PTSD symptoms she continues to face. "I feel stunned. Or stunted. You know that feeling when you're on a roller coaster and you're just about to go down the really steep slope? That fear and the drop in your stomach? My diaphragm seizes up. Then I have a hard time breathing, and my whole body goes into a spasm. And I begin to cry," Gaga told Vogue. "That's what it feels like for trauma victims every day, and it's...miserable. I always say that trauma has a brain. And it works its way into everything that you do."

Part of its manifestation has been fibromyalgia and resulting nerve pain, which she spoke out about in 2017 and further chronicled in her Netflix documentary, Gaga: Five Foot Two

"I get so irritated with people who don't believe fibromyalgia is real," the star told Vogue. "For me, and I think for many others, it's really a cyclone of anxiety, depression, PTSD, trauma, and panic disorder, all of which sends the nervous system into overdrive, and then you have nerve pain as a result."

As she continued, "People need to be more compassionate. Chronic pain is no joke. And it's every day waking up not knowing how you're going to feel."

Despite not knowing what the next day has in store physically, Gaga has forged ahead in a decade-spanning career with a new role that has sparked major award buzz, an upcoming Las Vegas residency and an ongoing secretive romance with Christian Carino to boot. 

"Yes," Gaga answered when asked by Vogue if she's happy. "I'm focusing on the things that I believe in. I'm challenging myself. I'm embarking on new territory—with some nerves and some overjoyment."

As she added, "It's an interesting time in my life. It's a transition, for sure. It's been a decade."

Vogue's October 2018 issue is available on newsstands in New York and Los Angeles on September 18 and nationwide on September 25.