Lady Gaga has spoken out about the lingering pain and trauma of being sexually assaulted as a teenager, resulting in her pregnancy at the age of 19. She revealed she suffered a “total psychotic break” years after being left pregnant by her alleged rapist.
35-year-old Gaga recalled her harrowing experience in an emotional appearance on the premiere episode of The Me You Can’t See, a new docuseries by Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey discussing the stigma around mental health and emotional well-being while discussing her own mental health journeys and struggles.
According to CNN, Gaga, born Stefani Germanotta, spoke through tears as she recounted the moment an unnamed producer demanded that she take her clothes off before threatening to burn her music. “I was 19 years old, and I was working in the business, and a producer said to me, ‘Take your clothes off,'” she recalled. “And I said no. And I left, and they told me they were going to burn all my music. And they didn’t stop. They didn’t stop asking me, and then I just froze and I just … I don’t even remember.”
Gaga said she would not name her alleged attacker. “I understand this #Metoo movement, I understand that some others feel really comfortable with this, and I do not, I do not ever want to face that person again. This system is so abusive; it’s so dangerous.”
According to Gaga, she was diagnosed with PTSD years later after going to the hospital for chronic pain. She went public with her diagnosis in 2016. “First, I felt full-on pain; then I went numb. Then I was sick for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks after. And I realized it was the same pain I felt when the person who raped me dropped me off pregnant on the corner, at my parents’ house, because I was vomiting, and sick. Because I’d been being abused, I was locked away in a studio for months,” Gaga recounts the harrowing experience. “The way that I feel when I feel pain is how I felt after I was raped. I’ve had so many MRIs and scans. They don’t find nothing, but your body remembers.”
Gaga said everything came to a head with a breakdown that took years for her to recover. “I had a total psychotic break, and for a couple years, I was not the same girl. Nobody knew,” she divulged.
Gaga also admitted to having impulses of self-harm, “It’s a really very real thing to feel like there’s a black cloud following you wherever you go, telling you that you’re worthless and should die. And I used to scream and throw myself against the wall. You know why it’s not good to cut? You know why it’s not good to throw yourself against the wall? You know why it’s not good to self-harm? Because it makes you feel worse. You think you’re going to feel better because you’re showing somebody, ‘Hey, look, I’m in pain.’ It doesn’t help. I always tell people ‘Tell somebody, don’t show somebody.'”
Today, Gaga says her healing process involves “trying to make sure I give back with that experience, instead of, I don’t know, locking it away and faking it.” Her road to recovery is “a slow rise. Even if I have six brilliant months, all it takes is getting triggered once to feel bad. And when I say feel bad, I mean want to cut, think about dying, wondering if I’m ever gonna do it.”