In 2017, Lady Gaga dominated headlines after revealing that she has fibromyalgia and struggles with chronic pain. As someone who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at age 11, I immediately began wondering how Lady Gaga’s chronic illness might impact her music. Cue Lady Gaga’s “The Cure.”
Now, like with any song, there are certainly many ways to interpret Lady Gaga’s lyrics, and I’m not going to analyze every line.
However, I did find several ways that Lady Gaga’s “The Cure” seems to reflect the reality of life with fibromyalgia…and three reasons why Lady Gaga’s “The Cure” might be a valid battle song for people with fibromyalgia and their loved ones.
1. Sometimes we need help with the little things – and we appreciate those who take the time to offer it.
The song begins with the line, “I’ll undress you, ’cause you’re tired” and Lady Gaga later sings, “Rub your feet, your hands, your legs/Let me take care of it, babe/Close your eyes, I’ll sing your favorite song/I wrote you this lullaby.”
So how could these words possibly relate to fibromyalgia? Well, one of the most frustrating things about chronic pain is how challenging it can make simple tasks feel. I am extremely fortunate that, thanks to various lifestyle changes
, my fibromyalgia pain isn’t as bad as it used to be. However, when I’m hit with a fibromyalgia flare up, even little things that I do every day – like answering emails, walking to class or cooking my own food – can feel nearly impossible.
Not only that, but when those days do hit, receiving help from a loved one or friend is almost required for me to function as closely to “normal” as possible. Personally, my fibromyalgia pain is typically worst in my shoulders, back and neck…and on bad days, having someone “rub” those areas and “take care of” the pain as much as possible is the best gift I could ever get. I imagine that many other fibromyalgia warriors hearing Lady Gaga’s song during a bad flare up feel the same way!
2. Living with a chronic illness – AKA, an illness with no cure – is freakin’ hard…for everyone involved.
If I had to sum up what Lady Gaga’s “The Cure” is about in one sentence, I’d probably say something like, “It’s about someone singing to a loved one who’s hurting (literally, metaphorically or both) and trying to help ease their pain.”
One of the most challenging things about fibromyalgia is that, as a chronic illness, it doesn’t have a “cure.” There are fibromyalgia medications or supplements people can take, and lifestyle changes (like finding the best diet and exercise plan for you) can definitely help people experience less chronic pain and fatigue. However, much like Lady Gaga sings in the song, researchers “can’t find the cure” to fibromyalgia as of yet.
As heartbreaking as knowing that you could live in pain for the rest of your life can feel, loved ones and friends, at least in my experience, can experience a similar heartbreak. I know that my mom would take my pain on top of her own (since we both have fibromyalgia)
in a heartbeat if it meant that I would live pain-free. I’ve also seen how frustrated my dad feels when Mom and I are hurting and there’s no one “cure” that he can offer.
When I listen to “The Cure,” I feel like I’m listening to the words of a loved one when I’m going through a fibromyalgia flare up: not only do they want to help me – promising to be “right by [my] side” – but they’re also desperate to help me feel better, whether I’m crying in pain and am asking if it’s wrong to just want to be normal or I’m having a good pain day and claim to be “okay.”
3. Love might not actually “cure” someone with fibromyalgia – but support can make a HUGE difference in our quality of life.
The lyrics from “The Cure” that I’ve thought about most in their relation to fibromyalgia are handsdown, “I’ll I’ll fix you with my love” and “Promise I’ll be the cure (be the cure).”
On the one hand, the word “fix” bothers me in the context of fibromyalgia because, as sad as it may feel sometimes, people with fibromyalgia can’t be “fixed” (or made 100% better) just because they have a loved one’s support. I’m not even sure that people with fibromyalgia like me can be “fixed” at all, although steps can be taken to drastically improve fibromyalgia symptoms. Similarly, when it comes to chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia, more than “love” is needed for a “cure,” as awesome as that kind of fairytale cure would be.
On the other hand, I also think that these lyrics hint at just how important support can be for those with fibromyalgia. Like other invisible illnesses, fibromyalgia doesn’t come with easily visible symptoms (though I did share some signs of fibromyalgia that people can “see” in this popular blog post
). We look “normal” despite being in near-constant pain, and our normal appearance can make it easy for people to discredit our chronic illness. Sometimes even the close friends or immediate family members of people with fibromyalgia hesitate to believe that their sickness is real.
So when people do believe our invisible pain and try to help us live as pain-free as possible with fibromyalgia…well, it might not“fix” or “cure” our chronic illness, but it definitely enhanced our quality of life. In fact, various studies have found
that quality social support can help people with fibromyalgia better manage their pain and cope with other fibromyalgia symptoms.
I don’t think I’ll ever know what influences combined to form “The Cure,” and I’m sure there are plenty of other ways people have heard and translated these lyrics to match their own struggles in life. However, I do know that the links I’ve found between lyrics in “The Cure” and aspects of living with fibromyalgia reveal important truths about love and the chronically ill.
And while this song might not “cure” anything long term, it can certainly be an effective fix for flare-ups when I’m feeling alone and need to remember just how much love, support and chronic illness solidarity the world has to offer. Not to mention it’s the perfect soundtrack of a self-love-packed solo dance party!