Lady Gaga got serious recently when asked for the biggest thing she has learned about herself. Rather than a glib answer, she told Harper’s Bazaar about the depression she felt – and the tolls it took on her – after the November release of her third album, Artpop. It’s a feeling she had hinted at when she vented about feeling betrayed by members of her inner circle at the start of the year.
“I became very depressed at the end of 2013,” she said. “I was exhausted fighting people off. I couldn’t even feel my own heartbeat. I was angry, cynical and had this deep sadness like an anchor dragging everywhere I go. I just didn’t feel like fighting anymore. I didn’t feel like standing up for myself one more time—to one more person who lied to me.”
Gaga said the only way she was able to break free of the depression was by confronting herself on New Year’s Day. She looked in the mirror and warned herself that if she didn’t fight she would not survive the slump. “I really felt like I was dying—my light completely out,” she said. “I said to myself, ‘Whatever is left in there, even just one light molecule, you will find it and make it multiply. You have to for you. You have to for your music. You have to for your fans and your family.'”
Gaga added that she didn’t feel like depression was depleting her “talents”; instead it made them harder to find. “I learned that my sadness never destroyed what was great about me,” she said. “You just have to go back to that greatness, find that one little light that’s left. I’m lucky I found one little glimmer stored away.”
So is she happy now? “Today, yes,” she told the magazine. And just what would she like her epitaph to be? “She spread love with every invention.” Elsewhere in the interview, she discussed kicking an eating disorder and said that she felt critics didn’t quite understand her art.
Asked for something true about herself that people need to know, she said, “That it’s not an act.”