In the interview with Oprah Winfrey, featured in Elle Magazine’s December issue, the singer — who has been about open her struggles in the past — said: “I’ve actually not opened up very much about this, but I think it’s an important thing for people to know and hear: I was a cutter for a long time.”
“The only way that I was able to stop cutting and self-harming myself was to realize that what I was doing was trying to show people that I was in pain instead of telling them and asking for help,” she said.
Gaga, 33, and her mother have both gone on to become outspoken advocates of mental health.
“I was raped when I was 19 years old, repeatedly,” Gaga told Oprah. “I have been traumatized in a variety of ways by my career over the years from many different things, but I survived, and I’ve kept going.”
During the interview, Gaga, whose name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, said she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain.
“Neuropathic pain trauma response is a weekly part of my life,” she said. “I’m on medication; I have several doctors. This is how I survive.”
“But you know what, Oprah? I kept going, and that kid out there or even that adult out there who’s been through so much, I want them to know that they can keep going, and they can survive, and they can win their Oscar,” she added.
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 24: (L-R) Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga perform onstage during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Gaga told Oprah that telling someone she was having the urge to hurt herself defused the situation.
“I then had someone next to me saying, ‘You don’t have to show me. Just tell me: What are you feeling right now?’ And then I could just tell my story,” Gaga said. “I say that with a lot of humility and strength; I’m very grateful that I don’t do it anymore, and I wish to not glamorize it.”
She also said: “One thing that I would suggest to people who struggle with trauma response or self-harm issues or suicidal ideation is actually ice. If you put your hands in a bowl of ice-cold water, it shocks the nervous system, and it brings you back to reality.”
Gaga said she once thought there was no way out of her trauma.
“I was in physical, mental and emotional pain. And medicine works, but you need medicine with the therapy for it to really work, because there’s a part that you have to do yourself,” she said.
Gaga also talked about suffering from fibromyalgia, which is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“For me, my fibromyalgia and my trauma response kind of go hand in hand,” she told Oprah. “The fibro for me is a lighter pain; the trauma response is much heavier and actually feels the way I felt after I was dropped on a street corner after I’d been raped repeatedly for months. It’s a recurring feeling.”
The musician said that at one point, she had a “psychotic break.”
“It was one of the worst things that’s ever happened to me,” Gaga told Oprah.
Lady Gaga in her third outfit at the 2019 Met Gala.
She said she was then brought to urgent care and was seen by a psychiatrist.
“So I’m just screaming, and I said, ‘Could somebody bring me a real doctor?’ And I didn’t understand what was going on, because my whole body went numb; I fully dissociated,” Gaga said.
She said the doctor eventually calmed her down and gave her medication.
The triple-threat entertainer said that the doctor and all her friends saved her life, adding that she takes a muscle relaxant and a medication used to treat certain mental and mood conditions.
The “Born This Way” singer also opened up about her mental health struggles in her documentary “Gaga: Five Foot Two” on Netflix.
Fox News’ Nate Day contributed to this report.