Fame served as one of the biggest inspirations behind Lady Gaga’s debut album, but the consequences of her superstar status left her in a dark place.
Speaking with CBS Sunday Morning, Gaga recently revealed that her celebrity stature had her feeling "exhausted and used up" prior to releasing her latest album, Chromatica. "I just totally gave up on myself," the masked singer told Lee Cowan during the sit-down interview. "I hated being famous. I hated being a star. I felt exhausted and used up."
Gaga ended up becoming resentful of the very identity that she created, admitting that the piano became symbolic of her pain on top of her fibromyalgia and PTSD from being sexually assaulted at age 19. "This is the piano I've had for so many years. I've written so many songs on this piano," she confessed. "I don't know how to explain it. But I went from looking at this piano, and thinking, 'You ruined my life.' During that time, I was like, 'You made me Lady Gaga. My biggest enemy is Lady Gaga.' That's what I was thinking: ‘My biggest enemy is her. What did you do? You can't go to the grocery store now. If you go to dinner with your family, somebody comes to the table, you can't have a dinner with your family without it being about you. It's always about you. All the time it's about you. And your outfits. Look at your outfits!’"
Gaga resorted to self-harm to show the people around her that she was hurting. They responded accordingly. "The people around me, they lifted me up," she recalled. "They said, 'You think you're drowning, but you're not. You're still amazing.' And I used to go, 'I'm not amazing. I'm over.'"
Asked if she contemplated death by suicide, she said, "Oh, yeah. Every day." "I lived in this house while people watched me for a couple years, to make sure that I was safe," she continued. "I didn't really understand why I should live other than to be there for my family. That was an actual real thought and feeling: 'Why should I stick around?'"
Mental health struggles are chronicled on Chromatica, as well as her upcoming book, Channel Kindness: Stories of Kindness and Community, a collection of stories from young adults recalling kind moments from their dark periods. "It's that cheesy thing that you say, like, 'Oh, I'm glad I went through it because it made me stronger?' OK. I coulda done without the last two-and-a-half years of my life!” she explained. "I coulda done without that. But you know what? It happened ... I don't hate Lady Gaga anymore. I found a way to love myself again, even when I thought that was never gonna happen. Now, I look at this piano and I go, ‘Oh, my God. My piano! My piano that I love so much! My piano that lets me speak. My piano that lets me make poetry. My piano, that's mine!'"
If you or someone you know is considering suicide or is in emotional distress, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
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