The singer talked about how she manages her PTSD and chronic pain from fibromyalgia

By Julie Mazziotta
November 06, 2019 12:48 PM

Lady Gaga revealed that she once suffered a psychotic break while dealing with the pain and trauma that followed her rape.

The singer and actress, 33, said the psychotic break was “one of the worst things that’s ever happened to me.”

Gaga detailed the incident in an interview with Oprah Winfrey for Elle’s December issue.

“I was brought to the ER to urgent care and they brought in the doctor, 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,” she said.

Gaga said that the break was a result of her trauma and her fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that causes muscle pain, fatigue and memory problems.

“Although there are many different theories about fibromyalgia — for me, my fibromyalgia and my trauma response kind of go hand in hand,” she said. “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”

Credit: Sølve Sundsbø
Lady Gaga
| Credit: Sølve Sundsbø

The Academy Award winner said that she started taking an antipsychotic medication used to treat mental disorders after her break.

“I was screaming, and then [the doctor] calmed me down and gave me medication for when that happens — olanzapine. So I take methocarbamol, and olanzapine, which is probably the most important — it helped me that day, and that man and all my friends, they saved my life,” she said.

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Gaga has spoken openly before about her post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and told Winfrey that she regularly goes to behavioral therapy to help her manage the condition.

“I actually have a teacher; I take dialectical behavioral therapy,” she said. “I think that DBT is a wonderful, wonderful way to deal with mental health issues.”

Lady Gaga
| Credit: Sølve Sundsbø

DBT, an intensive type of therapy, is also used to treat issues with cutting, which Gaga said had long been a problem.

“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, 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 said. “When I realized that telling someone, ‘Hey, I am having an urge to hurt myself,’ that defused it.”

Credit: Sølve Sundsbø

Gaga said that her only intention in sharing her experience with cutting is to stop others from doing it too.

“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 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.”