Lady Gaga’s mom on witnessing her daughter’s “turn” in mental health
Lady Gaga has spoken openly about dealing with mental illness, including depression, anxiety and PTSD. In a dedicated to ending the stigma around mental illness, the superstar’s mother opened up about what it was like to see the mental health of her daughter, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, take a “turn.”
“Stefani was very unique. And that wasn’t always appreciated by her peers. And as a result, she went through a lot of difficult times. Humiliated, taunted, isolated. When you’re a young woman, this really severely impacts you. And it was in middle school when I saw that turn happen,” Cynthia Germanotta said. “She went from a very happy and aspirational young girl to somebody that started to question her self-worth, to have doubts about herself. That is when we actually saw the turn.”
But what Germanotta says she didn’t realize at the time, was how ill-equipped she was to help her daughter deal with it.
“When I was growing up, times were different. The way that we would deal with things is what I learned. That’s what I resorted to. You know, I relied on getting a grip. I relied on the generational grit of just sucking it up and getting on with it,” she said.
For Germanotta, one of the most difficult parts of being a parent to a child struggling with their mental health was knowing what was “normal” and what wasn’t.
Germanotta would go on to team up with her daughter to create the Born This Way Foundation which works to educate people about mental and emotional wellness. Her message to parents going through something similar: Listen.
“I think as parents, our natural instinct is to go into problem-solving mode. When, in fact, you know, they really just want us to take them seriously and understand what they’re saying,” she said.
“We’ve learned from our research that young people often don’t turn to their parents because they feel – there’s fear of being judged. Also, we as parents, we don’t talk about our own struggles. I encourage parents to be vulnerable. Talk about your current or past struggles. So it really models healthy conversations and good behavior. The biggest thing is to really talk to them. And it’s certainly okay to not be okay.”
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