Lady Gaga has always been outspoken and honest. Her lyrics have touched upon some serious topics—from gender equality to individualism—that not only empower people but also strive to offer them solace and inspiration in tough times. In keeping with her open-book mentality, she recently shared her personal struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental illness she developed after being raped at age 19, which also affects roughly 8 percent of the US population.
As part of the Today show’s “Share Kindness” series, Gaga visited the Ali Forney Center, which serves homeless LGBTQ youth, and surprised residents with a performance and shared a mantra she regularly recites to keep positive: “You are brave, you are courageous.” She went on to reveal her own struggle. While the pop star has been open about her sexual assault, she had never before publicly spoken about the psychological ramifications she continues to endure.
“I suffer from PTSD,” she said. “I’ve never told anyone that before, so here we are. But the kindness that’s been shown to me by doctors as well as my family and my friends, it’s really saved my life.”
Gaga even wrote a note to each teenager at the center, hoping her words would inspire them in their journey to overcome adversity. “I am no better than any of those kids, and I’m no worse than any of them,” she said. “We are equal. We both walk our two feet on the same earth. And we’re in this together.” We hope her message of support and community will continue to spread.