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Lady Gaga shares open letter about living with PTSD

After a "Today" show interview in which Lady Gaga revealed that she suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, the 30-year-old pop singer wrote an open letter to detail what it's like to live with the disorder. 

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Gaga, who alluded to being sexually assaulted at the age of 19 during a Howard Stern interview, said that now, years after she began experiencing mental changes and searching for answers about her trauma, she's ready to speak out.

"It is a daily effort for me ... to regulate my nervous system so that I don't panic over circumstances that to many would seem like normal life situations," she wrote.

Gaga said that leaving her house and being touched by strangers are basic actions that can cause her stress.  

"I also struggle with triggers from the memories I carry from my feelings of past years on tour when my needs and requests for balance were being ignored," she wrote, detailing an experience in which she felt overworked during an event.

It wasn't just sexual assault that led to my complex PTSD. I have prolonged repetitive traumas over the course of my career. #ShareKindness Greg Williams PhotographyPosted by Lady Gaga on Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The "Til It Happens to You" singer also said she suffers from dissociation, which causes her to "look off and ... stare."

"My mind doesn't want to relive the pain .... As my doctors have taught me, I cannot express my feelings because my pre-frontal cortex (the part of the brain that controls logical, orderly thought) is overridden by the amygdala (which stores emotional memory) and sends me into a fight or flight response," she wrote. "My body is in one place and my mind in another. It's like the panic accelerator in my mind gets stuck and I am paralyzed with fear."

Gaga said that when she experiences dissociation, she can't speak or function normally. 

"It's harder to do my job. It's harder to do simple things like take a shower. Everything has become harder," she wrote. 

But despite the daily battle, Gaga said she will work to maintain her mental health. She wrote that she undergoes psychotherapy and takes prescribed medication.

"However, I believe that the most inexpensive and perhaps the best medicine in the world is words," she wrote.

Gaga, who pointed out that PTSD affects more than just those who have served in armed forces, co-founded the Born This Way Foundation with her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, in 2012. The organization is committed to supporting mental health wellness, empowering young people and encouraging them to spread kindness.

"I am a strong and powerful woman who is aware of the love I have around me from my team, my family and friends, my doctors and from my incredible fans who I know will never give up on me," she wrote. "I will never give up on my dreams of art and music. I am continuing to learn how to transcend this because I know I can. If you relate to what I am sharing, please know that you can too ... No one’s invisible pain should go unnoticed."

Read the full letter at Born This Way Foundation

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.8";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> I wrote a letter sharing my experience w/ PTSD. I want 2 help others understand what it is + how to get or give helpPosted by Lady Gaga on Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Grandmother of 12 earns bachelor's degree at 57

A 57-year-old grandmother of 12 will fulfill one of her dreams Saturday, when she'll graduate from college with a bachelor's degree. 

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The last four years have not been easy for Darlene Pitts, of Norfolk, Virginia.

A hardworking woman in pursuit of higher education, Pitts earned an associate's degree from a community college in December 2011.

The next year, she enrolled in a program at Norfolk State University with the hopes of earning another degree.

During the course of the program, Pitts, who was working two jobs, was placed on academic probation. At one point, she wasn't sure if she'd be able to complete the coursework.

"I came to work in tears because I got a letter saying I was on academic probation,” Pitts told The Virginia-Pilot. "Some of the classes, they were really rough. I was ready to throw in the towel. I just wanted to call it quits, but I just hung in there."

But instead of giving up, Pitts quit her job at a Kroger grocery store and focused on her schoolwork and her job as a special education teaching assistant at a local high school. She started working with a tutor, too.

"It was a rough four years," Pitts said. "But I still hung in there."

This weekend, Pitts will graduate with a bachelor's degree in psychology. She hopes to become a full-time special education teacher, but has no plans to end her career as a student. She wants to get a master's degree in special education.

"I love being in a classroom," she told the Virginia-Pilot. "I love being a student."

Until then, one of her granddaughters is practicing for how she'll cheer for her grandmother at Saturday's ceremony.

"It's a high-pitched scream," Pitts said. "It's a glass-shatterer."

Congrats to future NSU graduate Darlene Pitts. The NSU Commencement Ceremony will be held on Dec. 10. http://ow.ly/wjsm306PWQg #nsugrad16Posted by Norfolk State University on Monday, December 5, 2016

Generation Gap: Why these girls always prefer the self-checkout line at the grocery store

The self-checkout line at the grocery store is the best thing since sliced bread, in our opinions.

Shopping is so much easier when you can walk into the store, grab what you need and walk right back out without having to wait in an impossibly long line as others wait for a cashier to scan all 100+ items in their shopping cart.

Watch the video

RELATED: How millennials can do so much travelling, for cheap

Young adults often are just shopping for themselves, so the self-checkout line is the perfect answer to our problem.

Our generation are often accused of being in a hurry all the time for no apparent reason. But the self-checkout line really does save us time!

Kids these days! Lazy, entitled and self-absorbed, amirite? Well, we’re here to remind you – we’re rocking our bad rep just like every generation that came before us (lookin’ at you, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers). Kendall and Jessica are here to bridge the Generation Gap and remind you that there’s more that unites us than divides us. Let us be your guides into the crazy lives of your kids and grandkids. Tune in every Tuesday and Thursday!

Someone put up a ‘satanic display’ in Boca Raton

A “satanic display” of a pentagram with a nearby banner and sign were placed in Sanborn Square in Boca Raton, Florida, overnight and are causing a stir in the surrounding faith community, according to a local church.

Not far from the display are a Biblical nativity scene, a Christmas tree and a menorah. The banner and sign, which appear to have been covered in spray paint overnight, once read “In Satan We Trust” and “Celebrate Winter Solstice,” based on images of the original display circulating online.

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The display prompted St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church and the a local interfaith organization to release a statement. They plan to post another banner at the park this morning.

The church banner will read the following: “The Interfaith religious community honors our constitutional rights of freedom of speech and worship. We are blessed to live in a country that cherishes and protects these rights. The use of satanic symbols is offensive, and harmful to our community’s well being. We find it a shameful and hypocritical way to advocate for freedom from religion.”

The square is designated by the city as a free-speech zone.

Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie visited Sanborn Square on Wednesday morning to support the interfaith community’s decision to erect a banner near the scene.

“I find (the satanic display) offensive,” Haynie said. “However, the same constitutional right to freedom of speech that allows the church to display the nativity scene also allows for this objectionable symbol.”

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Boy, 9, says Santa Claus fat shamed him, said to 'lay off the burgers and fries'

A Rutherford County woman said her son left his visit to Santa Claus in tears because the man made fun of his weight. 

Ashley Mayse said she wished she'd never brought Anthony, 9, to talk to the Santa employed by Forest City, Channel 9's partner, WLOS, reported. 

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Anthony posed for a picture with Santa and shared his Christmas list, but the man's final comments caused Anthony to later tear up the picture with the not-so-jolly character.

"And when it got done, he said, ‘Lay off the hamburgers and french fries’ and that really just disrespected me, and I felt awful," Anthony said. 

Ashley Mayse said the man acted disinterested throughout the entire visit.

"Very rude. I've never seen anything like it," Ashley Mayse told WLOS. "What set me off is when he [Anthony] started crying."

The town manager said the man has since apologized to the mall supervisor and the family. It's not clear if he is still on the job. 

"It affected me so bad that I was crying until I went to bed that night," Anthony said. "And I want to say to him, 'You don't want to disrespect a 9-year-old. Even though what shape and size you are, it doesn't matter.'"

Ashley Mayse said she hopes the town fires the Santa, so no other children will be hurt like her son. 

She slathers saltines in chocolate and peppermint for this quick and delicious Christmas snack

If you have a box of saltines going stale in the back of your cupboard, use them to make this tasty Christmas snack.

Believe it or not, those flavorless crackers provide the base for one of the easiest treats you’ll make this holiday season. Their saltiness gives a nice balance to the sweetness of the chocolate and sugar.

Watch the video

RELATED: These no-bake holiday desserts are simple yet stunning

You will need:

Warning: Do not buy these knockoff iPhone chargers

There’s a new warning about counterfeit iPhone chargers after an investigation found that 99% of them failed a basic safety test.

According to the new report from UL, an Illinois-based safety consulting and certification company, counterfeits aren’t designed to meet industry safety standards and lack the safety features to protect users from danger.

RELATED: Save a fortune with Apple’s secret iPhone discounts

In a test of 400 counterfeit iPhone adapters, all but three failed basic safety tests and were considered “fire and shock hazards.” In fact, UL said that 12 of the adapters posed a risk of lethal electrocution.

Since the iPhone is so popular, there’s naturally going to be a demand for spare accessories, including chargers. Smartphone adapters from legitimate suppliers usually sell for around $20. But some of the knock-offs cost as little as a dollar, which should be the first red flag.

How to spot a fake

So how else can you spot a fake? It’s becoming harder to tell. A clear sign is the absence of a certification mark, such as a UL mark. However, some suppliers are putting counterfeit certification marks on the products, making it even more difficult for consumers to tell whether the adapter is legitimate or a fake.

RELATED: 4 ways to keep your smartphone running like new

4 ways to identify a counterfeit iPhone adapter
  • Color: All genuine UL certified Apple adapters are white.
  • Printed text: Look for spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.
  • Price: Genuine Apple iPhone adapters retail for $19. Beware of an unusually low price.
  • Packaging: Genuine Apple adapters come in white Apple packaging and aren’t sold loose in bins.
What you need to know

The bottom line is that you don’t want to risk injuring yourself or damaging your device by purchasing a counterfeit iPhone adapter, which really only saves you a few bucks in the first place.

Your best bet is to purchase a UL certified adapter manufactured by Apple or a legitimate source.

16 things you should definitely buy at the dollar store this holiday season

It’s no secret that the holidays are expensive! From hosting (or attending) parties and decorating the house, to buying gifts for family and friends — costs can quickly add up this time of year.

But with a little creativity, you can get through the month of December on a budget and avoid that dreaded holiday debt hangover come January.

And one of the best ways to do it is by shopping at the dollar store!

RELATED: $10 Christmas gifts your family and friends will love

Whether you’re looking for decorations and party supplies or inexpensive gift ideas, here’s a list of items you should consider buying at the dollar store to keep costs down this season!

1. Cards

Buying greeting cards at the dollar store is a no-brainer any time of year! Why pay $3 or $4 at a drugstore or other retail store when you can get cards for only $1 each?

And when you’re looking for holiday cards, go ahead and stock up on other cards as well. That way you won’t get stuck paying for an over-priced card at the last minute down the road.

2. Socks

You can get great quality socks at the dollar store! Whether you’re buying for yourself or looking for a few extra gift items, the dollar store actually offers a variety of socks that come in all different colors, patterns and sizes for both adults and kids. You can even order them online from Dollar Tree.

3. Party supplies

Any time you throw a party, the dollar store should be your go-to for supplies! You can get cups, plates, napkins, tablecloths and pretty much everything else you need — all for only $1!

4. Vases & centerpieces

Vases are a great buy at the dollar store. There are tons of options of glass vases, as well as mason jars that you can fill with flowers or other items to be used as a holiday centerpiece.

5. Holiday decorations

You only use this stuff once a year for about a month, so why not go for the best deals on decorations? The dollar store has tons of options including Christmas-themed drinking glasses, wall decorations, candles, table runners, placemats and more!

RELATED: More things you should never buy at the dollar store

6. Gift wrapping

Any time you need wrapping supplies, the dollar store is your best bet — especially around the holidays when there’s a lot to wrap! You can get a variety of tissue paper, wrapping paper, gift tags, holiday gift bags, boxes, bows and more for just $1.

7. Holiday tableware

Again, you’re only using these once a year — so if you’re trying to stick to a budget, then check out some of the tableware available at the dollar store!

Dollar Tree has gold-rimmed plates, wine glasses, mugs, bowls and even more options for your holiday dinner table. You can order these online for about $12 a case, and if you don’t need that many, consider splitting the price with a friend who’s looking for the same items!

8. Kitchen supplies

If you’re doing the Christmas cooking, don’t waste all your money on the cookware! You can all kinds of pans, mixing bowls, storage containers and other kitchen supplies at the dollar store.

9. Picture frames

Want to frame a few photos before having guests over during the holidays? Grab a few frames at the dollar store! You can get a variety of sizes, colors and even collage frames for $1 each.

10. Holiday towels

The dollar store offers a variety of hand towels and washcloths. So if you want to give your bathroom or kitchen a quick holiday makeover, just grab some red or green hand towels for a buck each!

11. Stockings & Santa hats

These items speak for themselves!

RELATED: The ultimate no-brainer: Everyday items you should be buying at the dollar store

12. Stocking stuffers & small gifts

Whether or not you go for the $1 stockings, you can definitely pick up some great stocking stuffers at the dollar store — including candy, card games, toys, health and beauty items and more! Whatever you like to give, there are plenty of options at the dollar store.

13. Ornaments & Christmas tree decorations

If you need some extra Christmas tree decorations, the dollar store has a variety of ornaments! Plus, you can grab a couple of $1 boxes of candy canes to hang on the tree, too!

14. Storage containers

You can get all kinds of storage items at the dollar store — from food storage containers to organizational baskets and bins.

15. Other winter apparel

In addition to socks, the dollar store also has a variety of knit hats, including solid colors and winter patterns. And while they may not last you forever, a $1 knit hat is a pretty good deal!

16. New Year’s Eve supplies

While you’re at it, you might as well grab any supplies you might need to ring in the New Year! The dollar store has balloons, glow sticks, noise makers, party hats, champagne flutes and plenty of other supplies to help you celebrate 2017!

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