Lady Gaga No Stranger To Depression

Lady Gaga does many things in Hollywood, so it should come as no surprise that philanthropy is one of those things.

Sadly, so is battling depression and anxiety.

An interview with Lady Gaga appears in the Philanthropy 2015 issue of Billboard magazine, on newsstands this week.
An interview with Lady Gaga appears in the Philanthropy 2015 issue of Billboard magazine, on newsstands this week. [Photo courtesy of Billboard]
In Billboard‘s October 24 issue, which celebrates philanthropy, Lady Gaga opens up about the Born This Way Foundation, which she runs alongside her mother, Cynthia. The foundation, which launched in 2012, came into existence when Lady Gaga realized that many young adults, including many of her fans, were struggling with depression and anxiety. One instance that triggered the creation of the Born This Way Foundation was the suicide of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer.

Jamey was a fan of Lady Gaga who was tormented for his sexuality. He became an activist against harassment, and even created a video titled “It Gets Better, I promise!” Sadly, less than six months later, Jamey sent a tweet to Lady Gaga, and took his own life.

Lady Gaga told Billboard‘s Camille Dodero that Jamey’s death was “absolutely” a catalyst, as well as other suicides of young teens around the time her album Born This Way was released.

“Jamey and other teens who take their lives young because they feel different — I wanted to make [their deaths] a lesson instead of a casualty of our negligence.”

Lady Gaga’s biggest goal with the Born This Way Foundation? To show teens and young adults that they aren’t alone: even the Grammy-winning songstress deals with depression and anxiety.

“This is all about giving kids a sense somebody cares.” [Photo courtesy of Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]
Lady Gaga’s recent video “Til It Happens To You,” which was co-written by Diane Warren, has also affected the singer in many ways. Gaga had previously announced that she had been raped at the age of 19, and teamed up with the producers of The Haunting Ground, a documentary surrounding sexual assault victims attempting to bring justice to their assailants. Recording the song alone was enough to bring Gaga to her knees.

“It’s hard to listen to that song, it’s hard to watch it. Diane [Warren] really held my hand. I was like, ‘I’ve done a lot of things Diane, but can I do this?’ She was like, ‘You can do this’….The vocals on that record, I’m just crying the whole time. It was a moment I shared with another woman that I will never forget.”

Gaga also mentions that Born This Way does see a lot of rape and abuse survivors, but that even “outside of rape culture, there are a lot of people silently in pain about extremely traumatic things.” Gaga urges those who are suffering not to give up.

“We don’t have to be victims. If we share our stories and stick together, we’re stronger.”

The world has also noticed Lady Gaga’s transition in her presentation, which she addresses with a laugh.

“There’s always a dichotomy within me. If you see me dressing really out there, I tend to be self-deprecating inside. When I dress like a lady, I tend to be feeling very wild and confident. That sounds bizarre, but I get a lot of s**t done with that blond hair. I haven’t changed. It’s just that I’m almost 30. I’m learning how to function effectively in society.”

"This is my life purpose, this foundation. This is why I was brought to life, I think." [Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]
“This is my life purpose, this foundation. This is why I was brought to life, I think.” [Photo courtesy of Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]
Elton John, whose AIDS Foundation will be collaborating with the Born This Way Foundation soon, is a close friend of Lady Gaga’s, and she credits him for inspiring her, as well as being there for her when she becomes depressed. John’s work with both the AIDS and LGBT communities inspire Gaga to be “part of his genius plan to save the world.”

The Born This Way Foundation’s page offers many resources for those in need, including a place to submit your own story, an option to donate, and a directory for those who are in need of immediate assistance for issues such as body image, drug and alcohol issues, sexual abuse, and more.

Author’s note: if you are feeling suicidal, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK), the Crisis Text Line (text “START” to 741-741), or head to your nearest emergency room.

[Featured image courtesy of Kevin Winter/Getty Images]