Lady Gaga Opens Up About the ‘Psychotic Break’ She Suffered Years After Being Raped

Trigger warning: This article discusses depression, anxiety, sexual assault, self-harm and suicide.

In Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey’s new documentary for Apple TV+, The Me You Can’t See, Lady Gaga describes experiencing a ‘psychotic break’ after her rape at the hands of a music producer — which left her pregnant when she was 19 years old.

In the film, which aims to bring awareness to the mental health issues that can arise from suffering trauma, Gaga explains, “I was working in the business, and a producer said to me, ‘Take your clothes off’. And I said no. I left, and they told me they were going to burn all of my music. And they didn’t stop. They didn’t stop asking me, and I just froze and I – I don’t even remember.”

Gaga, who documented her struggles with chronic fibromyalgia in her Netflix documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two, compared the pain she experienced from the illness to how she felt when she was attacked as a teenager.

“First, I felt full-on pain, then I went numb. I was sick for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks after, and I realised that it was the same pain that I felt when the person who raped me dropped me off, pregnant, on a corner by my parent’s house, because I was vomiting and sick,” she said.

For Gaga, who is now 35, the effects of the horrific incident hit her much later — when she was promoting 2018’s A Star is Born — which is when the Grammy-winner suffered from a ‘total psychotic break’.

“I didn’t know how to even think about it, I didn’t know how to accept it, I didn’t know how to not blame myself or think it was my fault. It was something that really changed my life. It changed who I was, completely,” she said.

“It changed my body, it changed thoughts. After it happened, I’m like ‘But what did I do in my life to bring this upon myself?’ There was some sort of maybe religious guilt attached to it that I had somehow inspired the violence.

“Because of the way that I dress, and the way that I’m provocative as a person, I thought that I had brought it on myself in some way. That it was my fault,” she said.

The Rain on Me singer, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, kept the attack a secret for seven years after it happened and has never named her abuser explaining, “I understand this #MeToo movement, I understand that some people feel really comfortable with this, and I do not. I do not ever want to face that person ever again.”

Gaga elaborated on the effects her mental health has on her, describing that when she is triggered and feels low, she has thoughts of suicide and self-harm but says she has learned the ways to pull herself out of those times.

“Everybody thinks it’s gotta be a straight line, that it’s like every other virus, that you get sick and then you get cured. It’s not like that. It’s just not like that. And actually, I think that traps people,” she said.

Expressing how scary it can be to open up about such struggles, the singer said she often feels shame at suffering from mental health issues such as depression.

“How do I explain to people that I have privilege, I’ve got money, I’ve got power, and I’m miserable?” she said.

“How do you do that? I’m not here to tell my story to you because I want anybody to cry for me. I’m good. But open your heart up for somebody else.

“Because I’m telling you, I’ve been through it and people need help. So, that’s part of my healing, being able to talk to you.”

If you or anyone you know is struggling and needs support, call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14, both of which provide trained counsellors you can talk with 24/7. You can also speak with someone confidentially at Headspace by calling 1800 650 890 or chat online here.

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