Content warning: This story includes discussions of sexual assault.
Lady Gaga shed light on the connection between mental health, trauma, and chronic pain in a new episode of The Me You Can’t See, an Apple+ docuseries from Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry.
In the emotional interview, Lady Gaga revealed that she was pregnant after being sexually assaulted by a producer she was working with at age 19. Gaga declined to name her alleged abuser, saying that she simply doesn’t feel comfortable doing so. “I understand this #MeToo movement. I understand that some people feel really comfortable with this and I do not,” she explained, per Today. “I do not ever want to face that person again. This system is so abusive and so dangerous.”
Years later, she went to the doctor for help with chronic pain but was surprised when her doctor brought in a psychiatrist. “First I felt full-on pain, then I went numb, and then I was sick for weeks and weeks after,” she said, per Access. “And I realized it was the same pain that I felt when the person who raped me dropped me off pregnant on the corner at my parent’s house because I was vomiting and sick.”
Even though she’s had “so many” MRIs scans, “they don’t find nothing,” she said. “But your body remembers.”
Chronic aches and pains are common symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Previously, Gaga revealed that she has posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which causes physical symptoms. “My diaphragm seizes up. Then I have a hard time breathing, and my whole body goes into a spasm. And I begin to cry,” she said. “That’s what it feels like for trauma victims every day, and it’s…miserable… I always say that trauma has a brain. And it works its way into everything that you do.”
In the new interview, Gaga said that she wanted to use her story to help others who may be in a similar situation. Now, part of her healing process involves “trying to make sure I give back with that experience instead of locking it away and faking it,” she said.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call the 24/7 National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673). More resources are available online from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. To find a sexual assault service provider near you, visit RAINN.