Lady Gaga has been in the spotlight over the past few weeks in anticipation of the release of her new Netflix documentary, Gaga: Five Foot Two. The film offers a rare glimpse at the way Gaga has been dealing with her chronic pain and fibromyalgia and has opened her up to criticism as she announces that she’ll have to postpone a series of shows in the next few months. Now, the singer has taken to Instagram to remind us that she’s not just “being dramatic,” but that her pain is real—and comes with real consequences.
“I use the word ‘suffer’ not for pity, or attention, and have been disappointed to see people online suggest that I’m being dramatic, making this up, or playing the victim to get out of touring,” she wrote in the caption. “If you knew me, you would know this couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m a fighter. I use the word suffer not only because trauma and chronic pain have changed my life, but because they are keeping me from living a normal life.”
As SELF has written previously, chronic pain is an incredibly common problem in the U.S. It’s also an issue that’s more often experienced by women, and is one that is highly subjective. The severity of an injury or illness doesn’t predict the severity of the pain that patients experience. Plus, we all experience pain differently, meaning that what might be mild for you may be extreme for someone else.
All of this is to say that we can’t possibly know what Lady Gaga is feeling—so we should believe her when she says she needs to take time off. “I am looking forward to touring again soon,” Gaga writes. “But I have to be with my doctors right now so I can be strong and perform for you all for the next 60 years or more.”