Suicide Prevention Day, Lady Gaga, Healing, and Compassion
September 10, 2020
I awoke this morning at 5am with a message from the universe to write about Lady Gaga. At 5am, not fully functioning; I thought, “What?” I wrote my notes and fell back asleep. When I awoke and read my musings, I realized today is World and National Suicide Prevention Day. I was all the more touched by my muse and the rumination I had.
Lady Gaga intrigues me on so many levels. From following her career, I feel she has been working her healing process through her music and art. I appreciate that. This year I feel I am working my healing process through my writing.
I remember working with youth in 2011, when Lady Gaga’s song, “Born This Way” was popular. There were seven youth; and a couple of the older teens were at that stage of trying to figure out how they fit on this planet. I could see the influence of Lady Gaga on them. Watching them experience the music made it clear they felt a branch reaching out to them… a sort of acceptance… of compassion. Something that they each so desperately needed.
“I'm beautiful in my way
'Cause God makes no mistakes
I'm on the right track, baby I was born this way”
In the midst of COVID and all that is going on in the world, I am thinking of many young people in my life who are hurting right now. Just in the last week I had conversations with families who have teens that are struggling. Depression, suicide ideation, gender identify, bullying, cutting, isolation… these are some of the issues these precious young people are facing.
Many places around the globe are experiencing devastation on top of the pandemic. The news cannot keep up. For young people, on top of the regular angst of figuring out identity, their world, wherever they are, has added crisis. Mental Health officials are sharing the effects of our current world for all people: whether they have had mental health issues previously.
How are the young people: teens and young adults supposed to be able to blossom at this time? To find their true essence? I hear that word,pivot ,and I guess that gives me hope. I see examples of young people pivoting.
My daughter just graduated in June. This is not how she envisioned post graduation time would be. She has landed back home. And yet, I am seeing her pivot. I see it feels most days like a pirouette through taffy; and yet, she is digging deep into who she is. I’m watching her create amazing art; watching her launch a business of reselling clothes, and best yet, watching her produce and ready herself to direct a play using online technology. Not where she thought she’d be; and in some ways, this time is allowing her to use all she has within in a way that many people spend a lifetime getting to.
“Don't hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you're set
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way”
Lady Gaga’s talent hit mature strides when she starred in the remake of the movie, “A Star is Born” in 2018. I remember I went to see the movie by myself. I had recently broken up with a man who had battled depression most of his life and after our break up, attempted to take his life by suicide. Four months later, I sat alone in the theater after the movie ended, in tears. I had not been prepared for the scene of Jack’s death by suicide. I had not been prepared for the pent up feelings I had about my ex’s attempt. Again, I found compassion through the art of Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga’s character, Ally, feels guilty and inconsolable after her lover’s death. Jack’s brother, Bobby, visits Ally and tells her that Jack’s death by suicide was not in her control.
I needed to hear that message too. In my empathetic heart, I had felt responsible for my ex’s mental health. I needed to let that go, and I needed to give myself compassion.
"There's nothing wrong with loving who you are"
She said, "'Cause he made you perfect, babe"
Recently, a loved one shared more of their journey with mental illness. It is important for me to hear and to understand. And, to hear the pain and anguish of someone I love so much… well, it just rips my heart apart. They shared how they had researched ways to end their life. Thankfully they also shared they knew they would not be able to carry it out, because of the inner support circle they have and the pain it would cause. I know I am not in control. I know, as in all situations, I am here to accompany. I am grateful they felt they could share their true feelings. And perhaps that shows progress that in this time, there is more acceptance for people to share their journey with mental health.
My prayer is…
for those closest to me,
for those throughout the world,
to find the ability to share
to find acceptance
to find understanding
to find healing
to find compassion
to find ways to pivot
to find ways to shine.
“Oh there ain't no other way
Baby I was born this way”
I lit candles of many shades tonight, for those that have left this earth, and for those that are here and keep working through it all. And for those that accompany and love.
If anyone reading this is in urgent need, please know there is help.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Available 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
Another resource: NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness at www.NAMI.org