"People watched me for a couple of years to make sure that I was safe," Lady Gaga said

By Georgia Slater
September 20, 2020 01:00 PM
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Lady Gaga is revealing new details about her struggle with depression and her challenging journey to love herself again.

In an emotional interview with Lee Cowan on CBS Sunday Morning, Gaga, 34, opened up about her inner battle with becoming her alter ego and missing her former persona as Stefani Germanotta.

"My biggest enemy is 'Lady Gaga', that's what I was thinking. My biggest enemy is her," the Chromatica singer recalled. "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 dinner with your family without it being about you, it’s always about you. All the time it's about you."

The star shared her latest album, Chromatica, offers a candid look at a dark time in her life, which included mental illness and trauma recovery. "There's not one song on that album that’s not true, not one," she told Cowan.

For example, Gaga said that the lyric "pop a 911," is a "reference to the medication I had to take when I used to panic because I'm 'Lady Gaga.' "

Asked what was "so dark" about that particular time she alludes to in Chromatica, Gaga said she had reached a point where she "totally gave up on [herself]."

"I hated being famous, I hated being a star, I felt exhausted and used up," she said.

"It's not always easy if you have mental issues to let other people see," Gaga continued.  "I used to show, I used to self-harm, I used to say, ‘Look I cut myself, see I’m hurting.’ Because I didn’t think anyone could see because mental health, it’s invisible."

The "Stupid Love" singer also revealed that she used to have suicidal thoughts "every day."

"I didn't really understand why I should live other than to be there for my family," she shared. "That was an actual real thought and feeling, why should I stick around?"

"I lived in this house while people watched me for a couple of years to make sure that I was safe," she said.

Gaga explained that her biggest trigger was "gentrification" and being bombarded in public. "If I'm at the grocery store and somebody comes up very close to me and puts a cellphone right in my face and starts taking pictures, just total panic, full-body pain. I'm braced because I'm so afraid," she shared. "It’s like I'm an object, I'm not a person."

Still, Gaga knew she had to go on and create music. "I swear on my future unborn children, I don’t know why but I have to," she said.

Credit: Kevin Winter/MTV VMAs 2020/Getty

"This, I have to do it," she explained, pointing to her piano. "Turns out, even if I don’t want to be alive, I still know how to write a song."

Since the release of Chromatica, Gaga told Cowen that she's "found a way to love [herself] again."

"I don't hate Lady Gaga anymore," she shared. "Now I look at this piano and I go, ‘Ugh, 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.’”

In this week's issue of PEOPLE, Gaga also opened about how she used music to bring her out of a dark place in her life.

"I used to wake up in the morning, and I would realize I was 'Lady Gaga.' And then I became very depressed and sad, and I didn't want to be myself," Gaga said. "I felt threatened by the things my career brought into my life and the pace of my life."

The Grammy winner has been candid about how, for years, she focused on her music rather than work through the emotional and physical trauma she suffered after a sexual assault early on in her career. And she has said that before getting to work on Chromatica, she was struggling with PTSD and fibromyalgia.

"I spent a lot of time in a sort of catatonic state of just not wanting to do anything," Gaga said. "And then I finally, slowly started to make music and tell my story through my record."

If you or someone you know need mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.