Lady Gaga is arguably one of the most talented and unparalleled women of our time, and when she speaks, people listen. Gaga sat down with Oprah to talk about the need to normalize the treatment of mental illnesses through medication, and as we listened to their conversation, we were inspired and found ourselves nodding in agreement with each word she spoke.
“What kept you getting up?” Oprah asked of the star, referring to her struggle with depression and mental illness.
Lady Gaga shared that her fans, inspiring women like Oprah herself, as well as faith, inspiration, and hope have kept her going. But she continued with a sincerity that was unmistakably clear, “And I also have to say…and I know that this is controversial in a lot of ways…but medicine really helped me.” (I don’t know about you all, but when we read this, our hearts leaped out of our chests.)
Gaga says that while many people are afraid of the negative effects of taking medicine for the treatment of mental illness, she is determined to erase the stigma surrounding medication. She emphasizes that your primary care doctor should not be prescribing antidepressants or other psychiatric drugs, but instead, they should be referring patients to a psychiatrist, which is a doctor who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, study and treatment of mental illnesses. But it’s more than just the stigma of medication she’s setting out to change. Lady Gaga says that many people simply don’t have access to proper treatment, and they also don’t have the money to pay for what they need to get better.
Medicine isn’t the only solution to helping Lady Gaga stay creative. She shares that she also finds strength through therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), cognitive therapy, and a technique called radical acceptance. This final practice is one in which she unconditionally acknowledges her pain and struggles by saying to herself, “I have mental health issues, I take a lot of medication to stay on-board, and I’m a survivor. And I’m living, and I’m thriving, and I’m strong, and I’m going to take all my life experiences and share them with the world and make it a better place.”
How incredibly powerful is it to hear someone say these words to themselves with absolute certainty, acceptance, and grace? The only way to destigmatize mental illness is to normalize the conversation. We must share this message with others in order to help those who feel they have to hide their struggles with mental illnesses and to make them feel normal, valued, and loved. Thank you, Lady Gaga, for being so open and fearlessly sharing your journey.