Lady Gaga has hinted before about her history of depression — and the drug use that stemmed from it. But in a new interview on Lifetime’s “The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet”, the singing superstar (real name: Stefani Germanotta), candidly discusses the specifics surrounding the depressive episode she experienced after dropping out of college to pursue a career in music.
Living on her own and not finding much success with singing, Gaga admits that “I was very depressed when I was 19. I would go back to my apartment every day and I would just sit there and it was lonely and it was still. It was just my piano and myself. And I had a television that I would leave on all the time to feel like there was someone hanging out with me.”
The type of depressed mood Germanotta describes aligns with key symptoms of clinical depression, including depressed or down mood most of the day persisting for at least two weeks and a loss of interest in normal relationships and activities.
Rather than seek help or mental health treatment at the time, Germanotta says she turned to cocaine as a way to self-medicate, “When I was doing cocaine, it was like the drug was my friend. I never did it with other people.”
Individuals suffering from untreated depression may use drugs or alcohol, often secretively, as a way to ease feelings of loneliness and isolation. As Lady Gaga now realizes looking back on this time, cocaine just ended up making the underlying problem of depression that much worse. “It’s such a terrible way to fill that void, because it just adds to that void, because it’s not real,” she admits.
Germanotta managed to pull herself out of her depression and put an end to drug use after she realized that cocaine was taking her further and further away from her goal of music stardom: “I sort of … woke up one day and was like, ‘You’re not an artist. [If you were], you’d be focused on your music…'”
It’s not clear whether Germanotta sought treatment for depression at the time, or has continued with treatment, especially since the star still cops to bouts of serious melancholy. As Gaga recently told a UK magazine, “I have a chronic sadness that recurs… I was overwhelmingly sad, and I didnt know why, because I had all these things to be happy about.”
– Lady Gaga on “The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet”
– Lady Gaga ‘cherishes’ loneliness