Lady Gaga has gone from becoming one of the biggest pop stars in the world to a pop star/mogul/Grammy-winning actress, further cementing her legacy for eons to come. But this journey wasn’t always easy.
In a new interview for ELLE magazine, the singer, actor, and fashion icon sat down with Oprah to discuss her new makeup line, Haus Laboratories; coming more into herself over the past decade; proverbially killing her bullies with kindness; and how she learned to better channel her pain and trauma from her past.
During one particularly raw moment, Gaga opened up about her past issues with self-harm, which she says she hasn’t talked about a lot, but believes it’s “an important thing for people to know and hear.” She revealed that, in doing so, she was portraying her struggles so that people could see what she was going through.
“I was a cutter for a long time, and 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 explained. “When I realized that telling someone, ‘Hey, I am having an urge to hurt myself,’ that defused it. 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.”
“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 added.
The singer also explained that she no longer self-harms, and underscores the importance of asking for help if and when you need it. “I’m on medication; I have several doctors. This is how I survive,” she said. “I would also beckon to anyone to try, when they feel ready, to ask for help. And I would beckon to others that if they see someone suffering, to approach them and say, ‘Hey, I see you. I see that you’re suffering, and I’m here. Tell me your story.’”
Gaga, who has been open about her experience with chronic pain and fibromyalgia, as well as the PTSD she incurred as a sexual assault survivor, also told the mogul she “once believed that there was no way back from my trauma. I really did. I was in physical, mental, and emotional pain.” For her, recovery came from a mix of both medication and therapy, as well as adopting coping mechanisms that work for her when she feels her ideations begin to manifest.
Still, she credits the work she’s done internally with helping her soar to new heights — which include nabbing the Oscar for her song “Shallow,” which she sang in A Star Is Born. “I was raped when I was 19 years old, repeatedly. 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,” she added. “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.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with their emotional health, head to halfofus.com for ways to get help. If you or someone you know are seeking help for self-harm, text CONNECT to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.