Lady Gaga was the first guest speaker on Oprah Winfrey’s 2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus tour, which aims to inspire audiences to transform their minds, bodies, and spirits in the new year.
In a vulnerable interview, Gaga opened up about being raped repeatedly at the age of 19, which led to a self-described “psychotic break.”
After the interview, Winfrey thanked Gaga in tears in a touching Instagram video.
Lady Gaga kicked off her New Year in a pretty special way. She spent Saturday with Oprah Winfrey, and a sold-out arena of 15,000 others, where they shared vulnerable conversation about the incredible hills and valleys of Gaga’s mental health journey.
The A Star is Born actress was the first guest speaker on Winfrey’s 2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus tour, a nine-stop expedition in partnership with WW Now (formerly known as Weight Watchers) that, according to Oprah Magazine, aims to inspire audiences to transform their minds, bodies, and spirits in 2020.
And Gaga is no stranger to such a transformation. She’s pretty much the queen of it, and on stage with Winfrey she went into detail about what might’ve been her most difficult one. After being raped repeatedly at the age of 19, Gaga was so ridden with trauma that she couldn’t get out of bed. At the time, she had no support system or professional help to guide her in processing it all.
Still, she pushed through the artistic training and hard work that rose her to fame in her early 20s, all while continuing to experience “intense pain” that she told Winfrey mimicked “the illness” of her assault. “I just didn’t stop moving and working and dancing through insurmountable pain … It was so frustrating … I was improperly medicated and I wasn’t in therapy,” she said.
She lived that way for about five years. “I was afraid I was gonna die,” she said, getting choked up. “And I’d rather face that, those five years, because they made me who I am.”
Gaga also detailed a self-described “psychotic break” that ultimately offered her a figurative reset. “I was triggered, really badly, in a court deposition. This part of the brain where you stay centered and you don’t disassociate, right? It slammed down. My whole body started tingling and I started screaming. I was in a hospital,” she explained. “The brain goes, ‘That’s enough, I don’t want to think about this anymore. I don’t want to feel this anymore.’ Boom. You break from reality as you know it. You have no concept of what’s going on around you.”
From there, she said her psychiatrist assembled a team and a treatment plan that saved her life. She was prescribed an “unorthodox set of pills” including antipsychotic and anti-depression medications, and she regularly practices talk and DBT therapy, which is a cognitive behavioral treatment that uses psychotherapy and group skills training to improve quality of life.
Since finding her own path to self-awareness, she has made it her mission to help others do the same. “This happened for a reason. All the things I’ve been through. I was supposed to go through this. Even the rape—all of it,” she said. “I radically accepted they happened because God was saying to me, ‘I’m gonna show you pain. And then you’re going to help other people who are in pain because you’re going to understand it. Now, when I see someone in pain I can’t look away. I’m in pain too. Now, I’m in problem-solving mode. I’ve got my suit on and my heels and I’m ready to go.”
After ending their talk, the celebrities reunited backstage and both of them started crying. “You were so amazing,” Winfrey told Gaga, holding back tears. Gaga’s hands covered her face. “You were so vulnerable, you were so truthful, you were so real. I couldn’t even believe you were doing that.” They embraced in a long hug. “To be the truth that way? Nobody does that,” Winfrey said. Gaga thanked her, and said, “We took a big bite of bravery together.”
The full interview will be available to watch on Jan. 8 on WW Now’s Instagram.
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