Lady Gaga Opens Up About How Her Past Sexual Assault Still Affects Her

For the past few years, Lady Gaga has been transparent about her sexual assault experience at the hands of an unnamed music producer at age 19. And now, for the October 2018 issue of Vogue, the powerhouse singer and A Star Is Born actress is opening up about the lasting effects of her experience, and how she thinks her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) contributes to her struggles with chronic pain.

Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, first revealed her alleged assault during an interview with Howard Stern back in 2014. She tells Vogue that "it took years" for her to find the strength to come forward about her experience.

"No one else knew," she said. "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."

The singer channeled her pain into her 2015 Oscar-nominated song "'Til It Happens to You," which she later performed at the 2016 Academy Awards, but she still suffers from PTSD following the attack. When asked to describe her symptoms, she went into detail, telling the magazine that she often feels "stunned" or "stunted."

She continued, saying, "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. 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."

Gaga later opened up about her experience with fibromyalgia, the illness that forced her to cancel the last 10 stops on her Joanne World Tour earlier this year, and how she believes that it goes hand in hand with her mental health.

"I get so irritated with people who don't believe fibromyalgia is real." she said. "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. 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."