Why Katy Perry could be headed for a meltdown

After Katy Perry joked that she "hadn't shaved her head yet," referencing Britney Spears' 2007 breakdown, those close to her worry that she may not be far off from her own meltdown, and they think a number of factors have played into it.

"Katy hoped she'd be married with kids by now, but she just ended another relationship with a cheating man," a source told Radar Online. "Cutting off her hair is a cry for attention. It's a mini-Britney [Spears] psych moment! Just days ago, she started crying during an Instagram livestream because radio stations weren't playing ['Bon Appetit']. Then she was a laughingstock at the Met Gala when she turned up looking like a blood clot … Katy's eyes had a vacant look that night at the Met. People are genuinely worried for her."

Still, there may be even more elements at play than the so-called pal who dissed her to a tabloid even realize.

She doesn't know who she is

Perry revealed in Viceland's The Therapist series, as part of her Witness World Wide livestream, that she has a hard time reconciling the stage persona of "Katy Perry" with the real woman that is "Katheryn Hudson."

"I'm really strong as Katy Perry. Sometimes I'm not as strong as Katheryn Hudson," she said. "People talk about my hair, and they don't like or they wish that it was longer. I so badly want to be Katheryn Hudson that I don't even want to look like Katy Perry anymore sometimes. That's a little bit of why I cut my hair, because I really want to be my authentic self 100 percent, so it hurts when I don't feel like I can," she said. "I made the choice [to be both Katy Perry and Katheryn Hudson]. Women — or people — don't have to be just one thing, and you can grow. I'm in my 30s now and I'm not the same person I was four months ago."

She continued, "I love growing, I love learning, and sometimes it's hard when people just want you to be a time capsule of what you were … but it's just my journey, I can't control anything else … I love my life and I'm so blessed, and I know a lot of people have given me this opportunity, and I don't take it for granted, and I don't take it lightly. I love my family and my friends and I try to do my best."

She feels like she sold out for fame

In her The Therapist livestream, Perry explained that she sold out her public self to the detriment of her private self.

"I'm human, and I'm living under this crazy microscope, and I made this choice," she said. "'Look at Katy Perry, she's so glamorous, she's rich, she's luxurious she's successful.' Katheryn Hudson, I didn't have any money, I didn't have any influence, I had nothing, so it's a bit hard to go back there."

She admitted to "Katy Perry" being "a formula," adding, "I wonder if I just pushed the rest button and just surrendered to love and to loving myself if I could still have all the things that I dream I could have as Kathryn Hudson, and I knew it would be a delicate balance." She explained, "I want to be seen and heard, but I want to be seen and heard for real … I create this character, but it makes it so much harder to be real and intimate with people … [Katheryn] is a massive dork. I'm a bit more nerdy than everybody thinks I am, I'm a big goofball … The fantasy of Katheryn went into Katy and made this bigger than life personality."

Despite not quite knowing who she is, Perry does seem somewhat self-aware, noting, "I'm only sitting in this chair because I'm Katy Perry … But I guess I can live my most authentic self … I just have to be the most authentic person."

She's uncomfortable with intimacy

Perry's struggles with intimacy go so far back and so deep into her psyche that she admitted she only recently got comfortable with giving and receiving hugs. "I just learned how to hug, because I always thought it was too intimate, like a sexual thing — [like] someone's gonna feel my boobs or something like that," she said in The Therapist. "I didn't realize that that's not everybody's intention. It's just a hug! It's just a way to connect! I just learned that."

She never got to have a childhood

In her The Therapist session on Witness World Wide, Perry revealed she didn't even know how to play with her own nieces because she never got to genuinely play as a child. That may be related to her parents' rigid upbringing, but also to her own professional ambitions, which she admits is why "Katheryn" is only 11 years old.

"I started singing when I was 9, and then I started realizing 11, 12, 13, I started going to Nashville to become more professional, you know? To learn how to write a song … I started turning pro at 11."

She has a complicated relationship with her family

Perry's parents are Evangelical Christian ministers, and she's admitted to struggling with gaining their acceptance as a pop star and even just as a person. In fact, Perry's father, Keith Hudson, said during a sermon on his church tour (via The Sun) that Perry was a "devil child." "They ask how can I preach if I produce a girl who sang about kissing another girl," Keith said. "I was at a concert of Katy's where there were 20,000. I'm watching this generation and they were going at it. It almost looked like church. I stood there and wept and kept on weeping and weeping. They're loving and worshipping the wrong thing."

Perry told Vogue in April 2017 that growing up, she "[was not] allowed to interact with gay people, and there is some generational racism." The Hudsons have also made anti-Semitic comments publicly.

Perry is well aware of the disconnect between her image and what her parents believe. "My parents are great and I love them so much — I cry sometimes thinking about how much I love them," she told Natalie Morales of Today as part of her 96-hour livestream. "They don't agree with some of the things I do and they do wish that I could do other things." When Morales brought up Perry's innuendo-filled "Bon Appetit" video as an example, Perry agreed, adding, "And I just have to say, 'You are your own person, I am my own person, and my intentions are pure.'"

She's coming to terms with her lack of education

In her The Therapist segment, Perry admitted that learning and curiosity were almost foreign concepts to her growing up as a home-schooled Evangelical and that her schools were "makeshift" and sheltered her from most of the secular world. As a result, being called out for the appropriation of cultures foreign to her came as a rude awakening.

In her Witness World Wide livestream, Perry admitted to Black Lives Matter leader DeRay McKesson, "In my intent to admire and appreciate a culture I actually did appropriate and I made a mistake." She explained of her "This Is How We Do" video, "[A friend] told me about the power in black women's hair and how beautiful it is and the struggle. I listened and I heard and I didn't know. I won't ever understand some of those things because of who I am. I will never understand, but I can educate myself and that's what I'm trying to do along the way … I have a lot of white privilege."

She also addressed her 2013 American Music Awards performance of "Unconditionally," which many criticized for its geisha theme. "I didn't know that I did it wrong until I heard people saying that I did it wrong. It takes someone to say, out of compassion, out of love, 'Hey, this is what the origin is.' It's hard to hear those clapbacks sometimes and your ego just wants to turn from them."

She's freaking out over her Taylor Swift feud

When Perry first began promoting Witness, she called longtime nemesis Taylor Swift out in her song "Swish Swish" and even confirmed that the song was about the country crossover during a Carpool Karaoke segment with James Corden in May 2017. She also told NME magazine that Swift was trying to "assassinate [her] character with little girls. That's not cool!"

Swift didn't comment, but instead discounted her entire discography and added all of her albums to streaming services at midnight the same day Witness was released. After that, Perry changed her tune, telling Today, "No, ["Swish Swish" is] not about anyone in particular, and I've said that on the record … That might be your story but my story, which I know is true for me, is that I've had not just one person bully me or one person hold me down or met one troll."

In her Witness World Wide livestream, Perry told Arianna Huffington, "I forgive [Swift] and I'm sorry for anything I ever did, and I hope the same from her … I love her, and I want the best for her, and I think she's a fantastic songwriter, and I think that if we, both her and I, can be representatives of strong women that come together despite their differences, I think the whole world is going to go like, 'Yeah, well we can do this.'"

Her new music isn't performing as well as she's accustomed to

Perry received a slew of criticism for her awkward dance moves on Saturday Night Live, but her GIF-ability is the least of her worries. Consequence Of Sound reports that Swift's back catalog is outperforming Perry's new album, Witness, on Spotify.

Her Witness singles haven't charted well, either: Though No. 4 on the Billboard charts is stellar for anyone else, for Perry, whose hits usually skyrocket straight to No. 1, "Chained To The Rhythm" disappointed. "Bon Appetit" topped out even worse at No. 59, while "Swish Swish" capped at No. 46. Still, Billboard reports that Witness is slated for a No. 1 spot, with estimated sales between 200,000 and 225,000 — but that's still 60,000 to 66,000 fewer than 2013's Prism, which debuted at No. 1 with 286,000 copies sold.

She wants to be in a relationship

Perry admitted that she's single and would love to have a companion. She told The Therapist, "I've had some good [men in her life], and I love them all in a certain way, and they've taught me so many things … now with relationships, even if they don't hit whatever figurative finish line you're supposed to hit, I think that they all teach me something. I've been dating, but I haven't found the person — or figured out how to have a child with someone yet, but that would be a goal that I'd want in the future … But it's no one's fault, it's just a lesson," she said.

As far as what Perry is looking for in a man, there are five specific attributes, which she admits is a "tall order to ask someone for." "First and foremost, my love language is music, so I love music, and I love speaking through music … you don't have to be in the music industry," she said. "Second is a sense of humor because life is a little bit too much unless you laugh. Third, I would like someone to be intelligent so I can learn, whether it's emotional intelligence or spiritual intelligence. Fourth is spiritual: I want someone that really knows that there's something more than them. It doesn't have to be any belief system … Lastly, I like someone that's powerful. I like someone who puts all that power into play."

She may be reeling from a broken heart

Perry's breakup with Orlando Bloom in February 2017 may have really hurt her. An insider dished to Radar Online that Bloom and Perry were almost ready to walk down the aisle when they split. "Everyone is really shocked about this," the insider revealed. "They were so into each other for almost a year and they even thought that they would get married. They had talked about marriage. It is just really sad."

What's worse? Bloom may have cheated. A source close to the Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) star told People, "[Bloom was] still keeping his options open throughout his entire relationship with [Perry]." Another source told Radar Online, "Orlando never changed his ways with hanging out with other women [during the relationship]. He would still continue to hang out with his actor buddies and there were always a ton of sexy women around."

She may miss John Mayer

Perry wistfully said in The Therapist that one of her paramours "has been a really amazing example of a man, a gentleman, and I had to push pause on that 'cause I had to grow. I couldn't grow together because I still had to make [myself] whole … I'm really grateful for someone like him who mended my wings and holds a space for me so that I can grow and doesn't judge me." Perry's previously told Marie Claire that she and Mayer had to take a break so she could process her divorce and improve her own self-esteem, and it sounds like she may want to reconcile with him.

Perry also claimed in a segment with James Corden that Mayer was her best lover out of her last three relationships (followed by Orlando Bloom, then Diplo). She and Mayer's seeming obsession with each other is mutual: Mayer admitted to The New York Times that much of his new album, The Search For Everything, most notably his single "Still Feel Like Your Man," is inspired by Perry.

She suffered from substance abuse issues

Perry admitted to struggling with alcohol abuse, which gives songs like "Last Friday Night" a much darker tone than originally intended. "I've had a dance with the devil," she told The Therapist, adding, "I'm sensitive as it is. I'm the girl who has two glasses and I'm like [drunk] — even one glass of wine. And so I just really have to be balanced. I have to know my limits, and so sometimes, I have to take a break — and especially when I'm not in a good place, because that's when I use it to numb myself … Sometimes I felt like I would have to have a couple of drinks to go somewhere because I am Katy Perry to the outside world, so it would be hard to be tired or not be witty, to always be on … I would say [I get] angry because I let it build. That's why I meditate, that's why I do yoga now."

She's struggled with suicidal thoughts

Perry revealed to The Therapist that her song "By The Grace Of God" was about her struggle with suicidal thoughts. "I wrote a song about it … I sang it on tour but it's hard because I feel ashamed. I feel ashamed that I would have those thoughts, that I'd feel that low and that depressed … I wrote that song 'By The Grace Of God' because I do believe in something much bigger than me and I call that God for me," a crying Perry said. "I get to live this wonderful life and I work very hard at it and I've been given this gift, but I know that God has his hand on me and I know that sometimes I go through things and I think they're too intense and I can't handle them, but then he swings through … and it brings me through it."