Lady Gaga Fell into a 'Dark Place' Before Making Her Latest Album: 'I Didn't Want to Be Myself'

Lady Gaga is opening up about how her depression informed her new album.

This summer the pop star released her acclaimed sixth studio album, Chromatica, which addresses weighty issues, including mental illness and trauma recovery, over dance beats.

In the new issue of PEOPLE, Gaga, 34, opens up about how she used music to bring her out of a dark place in her life.

"I used to wake up in the morning, and I would realize I was 'Lady Gaga.' And then I became very depressed and sad, and I didn't want to be myself," Gaga says. "I felt threatened by the things my career brought into my life and the pace of my life."

Indeed, the Grammy winner has been candid about how, for years, she focused on her music rather than work through the emotional and physical trauma she suffered after a sexual assault early on in her career. And she has said that before getting to work on Chromatica, she was struggling with PTSD and fibromyalgia.

"I spent a lot of time in a sort of catatonic state of just not wanting to do anything," Gaga says. "And then I finally, slowly started to make music and tell my story through my record."

An overarching theme of Chromatica is finding light out of darkness, which she sings about on her smash Ariana Grande collab "Rain on Me" and album standout "Free Woman." Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, spread a similar message with their Born This Way Foundation and new book, Channel Kindness: Stories of Kindness and Community, which features 51 stories from young people.

"These are the things that create highways from heart to heart, where we can hold compassion and empathy, where we can celebrate everybody's resilience," Gaga says.

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