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The Lady Gaga Song That Helped Me Through a Suicidal Episode

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It may seem silly to think a celebrity, someone who doesn’t know I exist, could have saved my life. When I started typing this, I rolled my eyes at myself and thought, “Are we really writing this for the public to read?” I never wanted to be someone who practically worshiped an A-list celebrity. But when Lady Gaga released the album “Born This Way,” my depression no longer controlled me.

I was 16 years old when the album was released and, like many other 16-year-olds, I loved to jam out to my favorite pop star. I was also dealing with a heavy depressive episode that, at the time, I had no explanation for. I knew what depression was, and by that time I had been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. But no one really explained to me what depression did to our bodies, or how often I would feel that way. I spent most of my days functioning “normally,” but sometimes I would begin to feel as though nothing mattered anymore. I got into thought processes that consisted of, “We are nothing but tiny molecules in the universe and we do not matter, therefore dying would not change anything.”

During this time, Lady Gaga released her “Born This Way” album. Excited, I hustled to Best Buy and grabbed the first copy I saw. I ran back to the car, begging my mom to hurry home so I could pop it into my laptop. At first listen, my favorite song was “Born This Way,” of course. But after a few replays, I listened to “Bad Kids” once again. Instead of focusing on the rock-and-roll tune, I listened to the lyrics this time. And I mean really listened.

Now, I realize many of you may never have heard this song, as it was never one of her singles. However, if you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, I strongly urge you to do so. The song is based on stories fans shared with Gaga while she was on tour about how her music helped them through a tough time. She mentions the topics of the letters several times throughout the song. My favorite part is:

I’m a twit, degenerate young rebel and I’m proud of it
Pump your fist if you would rather mess up than put up with this
I’m a nerd, I chew gum and smoke in your face, I’m absurd
I’m so bad and I don’t give a damn, I love it when you’re mad

The reason this stuck with me so much is the way Gaga begins the song with snippets from the stories such as, “My parents tried until they got divorced ‘cause I ruined their lives,” and “wish I had the money but I can’t find work.” Then, later in the song, she sings proudly about being a degenerate young rebel. The fact that a woman of her power in society could sing proudly about being disliked by her peers made me feel so empowered.

For some reason, knowing people other than myself also struggled with feelings of inadequacy made thoughts of suicide go out the door. I still get chills when singing along with this song, because I remember the epiphany I had as a naive 16-year-old when I realized I was not alone in this. Sometimes, it can take a celebrity like Lady Gaga to remind us we are all human and we all struggle.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a mental illness, make sure they know they are not alone. Share your story and empower those who need a voice.

Image via Creative Commons / marcen27.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Originally published: September 27, 2016
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