I nearly threw my phone across the room, what she said irked me so much. (But I’m not really a thrower and the thing is expensive … and essential!)
It was a roller coaster of opinion that began with me seeing that Lady Gaga talked about fibromyalgia when she spoke to Oprah. I was like, *Yay! Awareness! Credibility!*
Then a friend texted me with a clip where she talked about fibro being treated as a mental health condition, and I was like,
Isn’t that just a giant step backwards, back when docs just told us it was all in our heads? Back when docs said it was, you know, a mental health condition?
*Sister, you need to stop right there. You and your fame are going to ruin it for all of us if you talk about it wrong.*
Then, I decided before I get all jumpy and upset, I should watch the interview. The whole interview. I punched it up on YouTube, saw that it would take an hour of my life to do so, and realized I’ve no right to think thoughts unless I see the entire thing.
So I started watching, and the moment I wanted to throw my phone across the room was when she said, “I struggle with chronic pain. Some call it fibromyalgia.”
“Some call it”??? How utterly dismissive is THAT? While I was still connipting, she indeed did go on to say, “fibromyalgia can be treated through mental health therapy.”
And I about lost my mind.
And I kept watching it.
I calmed down.
I heard her story, her thoughts, her heart. I was enamored.
I reminded myself how absolutely disastrous I can be when interviewed, and it’s not even been by Oprah (yet … hehe). That when you’re in the moment, you aren’t going to always say things perfectly. Plenty of times I’ve watched video of myself and cringed, thinking, oooh, I gotta say that better next time.
Sadly, Lady Gaga’s psychiatrist will not call fibromyalgia fibromyalgia. “He will call it neuropathic pain or trauma response,” says Gaga. This falls in the heap of professionals who won’t call fibromyalgia a real condition but rather a symptom. I think we need it to be called a condition. That credibility is important to us.
What Lady Gaga does do … well, she does SO MUCH. Starting with her saying, “Many people don’t know what it is, and we need to all get together and figure this out.”
She correctly asserts that while fibromyalgia is similar to autoimmune conditions, it is not autoimmune, and I totally appreciate her busting that myth. At the same time, she says that there is an immunity aspect as well as a neuro-psych aspect. I don’t disagree. Heck, because of fibro, I’m literally allergic to weather.
There is a little bit of danger of pigeonholing, as she repeatedly asserts that her fibromyalgia is a result of her PTSD and that fibro is linked to mental trauma and should be treated as a mental health condition.
True, trauma triggers fibromylagia, but we must remember that it’s not necessarily mental health or emotional trauma. It could be physical trauma, such as a vehicle accident or the trauma of an actual autoimmune disease like lupus.
Lady Gaga swerves right back to my side, though, while discussing her medications and being very firm that treatment is not the same for everyone. She’s clear that we’re all different.
I love how openly she talks about her treatment. I love how she talks about all her pills. She is breaking down the stigma of fibromyalgia, of mental health conditions, of treatment, of medications. When speaking of her “radical acceptance” therapy, she says, “I have radically accepted that I will put my shame in a box all the way over there and make it very small.”
I strongly encourage you to watch the entire interview (I’ve plopped it below for you). She is such a mighty advocate for humankind. By the end, I no longer wanted to throw my phone. Instead, I was practically hugging it.
I just connected with her so much on all the levels. Her passion for delivering a message to help and heal, her spirituality and relationship with God, her gratitude, her understanding that her pain is a gift because it helps her to know exactly how to lead others through theirs….
Indeed, by the end, I just said aloud, “Gaga, will you be my friend?”