Lady Gaga experiences severe pain due to fibromyalgia, but she also struggles with her mental health. And now she's speaking out as never before.
While honoring her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, with the Global Changemakers Award at the Children Mending Hearts' Empathy Rocks fundraiser, she shared her private battle.
She has been experiencing suicidal ideation for years.
Before presenting her mother with the award for her work with the Born This Way Foundation, Lady Gaga got very real.
"We bring people together to have real, honest conversations and to be kind."
Kindess is in short supply, these days. But it doesn't have to be.
"Kindness is not an afterthought to our work. It is the driving power for everything we do. It is the lens we view every challenge through."
That's a powerful point of view.
"It is framing the way we put everything around every possible solution."
She thinks that it can be a solution.
"To me, almost every problem you can think of can be solved with kindness. Atleast it could be made better."
"Kindness has a soft undertone. Sometimes people think it is weak. It is tremendously powerful."
She's not wrong about any of that.
"It can change the way that we view each other. The way that we view our communities and the way that we work."
"Even the way that we feel about ourselves, by being kinder to ourselves. We need more kindness in the world."
Here is where she decides to get real.
"I can't remain silent any longer. The passing of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain has made me want to speak up about my mental illness."
And this is a very personal topic for Gaga.
"I have been experiencing suicidal ideation and cyclical obsessive suicidal thoughts for the past four years."
She describes the process that she underwent as she came to grips with her mental illness.
"At first, I thought I was alone and a bad person, but once I was brave enough to tell my friends and family -- tould they just think I was looking for attention?"
Society teaches people to doubt their own mental illness and to keep quiet. And it teaches people to fear being honest about it.
"Would I be immediately hospitalized against my will? I was able to be honest with my psychiatrist. The honesty was met with genuine love and concern and loads of support from my mental health team."
A healthy support network can be the key to survival.
"I began to meet others like me.I know I am lucky to have support like this, but there is so much help out there if you have the courage to be honest with yourself and others about what you are going through."
By being honest about her suicidal ideation with the public, she hopes to help others -- and herself.
"I have struggled for a long time, both being public and not public about my mental health issues or my mental illness. But, I truly believe that secrets keep you sick."
Lady Gaga ties this in with the context in which she revealed it.
"I realize that it's actually safer to say how I feel. What Children Mending Hearts is doing today rocks because it's safer for others who feel like me."
She thanks her mother, Cynthia.
"Thank you Mom for not being afraid of my darkest thoughts and for doing what many don't realize goes very far: just holding my hand and running an organization that helps hold the hands of others and join the hands of others. I love you."
She gives a very simple summary of her words and experiences.
"Suicidal ideation feels like a spell and we have to have empathy. Be kind and help each other break that spell and live and thrive."
That is very good advice.
Lady Gaga is an extraordinary inspiration to the world.
A number of singers have inspired fans to live, whether they're battling suicidal depression or cancer.
It's only fair that these extraordinary talents also receive emotional support and inspiration that will hopefully help them to conquer their mental illnesses on a daily basis.
If you are afraid that you may be about to commit suicide, please do not hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
This world is a better place with you in it.