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What I Took Away From 'Gaga: Five Foot Two' as a Fellow Chronic Pain Warrior

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When I wrote about having the same illness as Lady Gaga, there was a lot of buzz online about how someone with as much money and fame as Lady Gaga could be struggling with the widespread chronic pain that comes along with fibromyalgia. The buzz continued to increase as the release of the Netflix documentary “Gaga: Five Foot Two” drew closer. I sat down with my first cup of coffee yesterday morning to watch the documentary, and I have to say I’m pleased with the message Gaga shared.


Being in the media spotlight isn’t easy. Yes, it is what musicians, actors and other performers know will be a part of their career choice. However, I couldn’t help but think about how stressful and exhausting dealing with all of the paparazzi must be. Gaga and her entourage were constantly on the lookout to see how many were out there. I simply can’t fathom having to be prepared for all the world to see me in pictures no matter whether it’s a good day, bad day or just a day in extreme pain.

As authentic as Gaga appeared in most of the documentary, no makeup, hair just pulled back in a ponytail, there were countless scenes where Gaga was having her hair and makeup done before going into public. I thought back to having a dear friend visit from Chicago recently, who is an amazing hairstylist and makeup artist. Friends were shocked by how great I looked! Not only can wearing makeup mask the pain and exhaustion you feel with fibromyalgia, but having it done by a professional? That is the ultimate disguise.

There are pieces of Gaga’s personality I constantly felt a kinship with. She rejoices in pain-free days, as I do. Those are the wonderful days people with chronic pain hang on for and celebrate when they happen! She says, “I’m just so tired” as often as I have been known to. She also showed so much empathy for those struggling with such widespread pain in a scene from “Gaga: Five Foot Two” that showed her in extreme pain just prior to Tony Bennett’s 90th birthday party, where she was scheduled to perform. Gaga said, “I just think about other people that like have maybe something like this that are struggling to figure out what it is and they don’t have the money to have someone help them.”

However, with that stardom status, she certainly has a type of stress that those who stress over putting a roof over their head and food on the table may not be able to fathom, just as those of us not in the spotlight can’t fathom the type of pressure and stress she goes through. However, stress is stress, and stress makes chronic pain and autoimmune conditions worse.

I couldn’t help but notice that Gaga seems to fall under the description of being an empath. An empath is someone who is not just empathetic to others’ situations, but they can literally feel the emotional pain others are experiencing. During some scenes where the other person was experiencing emotional pain, Gaga definitely seemed to feel their pain and more. Being an empath myself, I could see how much the pain of others truly affected her. I truly feel that is a part of her success in music. She is able to write about what everyone else feels. She’s able to tell the story so those who listen to her music can feel it, too.

“Gaga: Five Foot Two” profiles the physical and emotional pain as well as the level of stress that is known to cause autoimmune diseases to take hold and flare. It also shares that Gaga also has a family history of autoimmune disease. I believe the one life lesson that “Gaga: Five Foot Two” will be known for is that when it comes to pain, be it physical or emotional, there is no amount of notoriety, fame or money that protects anyone. And, no matter how ill someone is, it doesn’t need to stop them from achieving their dreams.

This post was originally published on The Battle Within.

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Originally published: September 25, 2017
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