This weekend Oprah Winfrey kicked off her arena tour with an hour-long discussion with Lady Gaga, diving into past personal trauma and her mental health.
During the first stop on Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus, Gaga shared the past experiences that led to her PTSD, explaining that “repeated rape” when she was 19 years old led to lasting personal pain for the singer.
“I was raped repeatedly when I was 19 years old, and I also developed PTSD as a result of being raped and also not processing that trauma,” she explained to Oprah. “I did not have anyone help me. I did not have a therapist, I did not have a psychiatrist, I did not have a doctor help me through it – I just all of a sudden became a star and was traveling the world going from hotel room to garage to limo to stage, and I never dealt with it. And then all of a sudden I started to experience this incredible intense pain throughout my entire body that mimicked the illness that I felt after I was raped.”
That pain includes Gaga's fibromyalgia, which she believes has a potential link to the trauma she has endured. The singer recounted conversations with doctors about treating her condition through mental health therapy. “Mental health is a medical condition, it should be treated as a medical condition. It should not be ignored.”
In the confessional interview, Gaga also opened up about her history of self-harm and explained why it's important for her to talk about it in the past tense. "I like to say I used to cut as opposed to I’m a cutter because I identify with it and that’s not healthy for me," she shared. "Cutting for me I believe, happens for a variety of reasons. I also used to throw myself against a wall. I mean, I used to do some horrible things to myself when I was in pain."
Gaga credits fans, faith, and medicine as part of the reason she's able to keep getting up. "I have to say it, and I know that this is controversial in a lot of ways, but medicine really helped me," she said. "I think a lot of people are afraid of medicine for their brains to help them, and I really want to erase the stigma around this."
With passion, Lady Gaga vowed to fight for mental health, taking an oath to end the crisis. “It’s 2020, and for the next decade or maybe longer, I’m going to get the smartest scientists, doctors, psychiatrists, mathematicians, researchers, and professors in the same room together and we are going to go through each problem one by one, and we are going to solve this mental health crisis.”
RADIO.COM’s I’m Listening initiative aims to encourage those who are dealing with mental health issues to understand they are not alone. If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, know that someone is always there. Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-273-8255.