Editor’s note: This story deals with topics of sexual assault and self-harm that could be triggering or disturbing to some readers.
Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry’s new docuseries for Apple TV+, “The Me You Can’t See,” premiering Friday, features several stories from both everyday people and celebrities on how they struggle with their mental health.
In one especially poignant scene from the first episode, pop star Lady Gaga opens up about being sexually assaulted at the age of 19. She said a music producer she was working with told her to “take your clothes off.”
“I left and they told me they were going to burn all my music,” she recalled.
“And they didn’t stop, they didn’t stop asking me and I just froze and I just … I …I don’t even remember,” she said, crying.
She said she would not publicly name her abuser.
“I understand this #MeToo movement, I understand that some people feel really comfortable with this, and I do not,” she said. “I do not ever want to face that person again. This system is so abusive and so dangerous.”
Gaga added that years after she was assaulted, she went to the hospital for her chronic pain and was surprised when a psychiatrist was brought in.
“I said why is there a psych here, I can’t feel my body,” she chuckled. “First I felt full on pain, then I went numb and then I was sick for weeks and weeks and weeks after.”
“And I realized that it was the same pain that I felt when the person who raped me dropped me off pregnant on the corner at my parents’ house because I was vomiting and sick,” she said. “Because I’d been being abused, I was locked away in a studio for months.”
“I’ve had so many MRIs and scans … they don’t find nothing. But your body remembers,” she said.
Gaga went on to say that the trauma of her experience led to “a total psychotic break” for a few years. In that time, she won an Oscar for her performance in the 2019 film “A Star is Born.”
“You can come back from things like that, but when it hits you really hard, it can change you,” she said. “I went through a really crazy time in my head that I still work on and I’m trying to make sure that I give back with that experience instead of just, I don’t know, locking it away and faking it.
“It’s a really very real thing to feel like there’s a black cloud that is following you wherever you go telling you that you are worthless and should die.”
“You know why it’s not good to self-harm? Because it makes you feel worse. You think you’re going to feel better because you’re showing someone, ‘Hey, look, I’m in pain,’ (but) it doesn’t help,” she said. “I always tell people, tell somebody, don’t show somebody.”
That sentiment echoes throughout the entire show as Winfrey, Harry and others open up about their mental health journeys.
From NBA player DeMar DeRozan to Olympic-bound boxer Ginny Fuchs, who struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder, the series shows multiple people push through their pain to find healing.
In an interview that will air on Friday morning, Winfrey will open up to TODAY’s Hoda Kotb about her own journey, struggles and mindfulness as well as her bombshell interview in March with Harry and wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
If you or someone you know needs mental health support, contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or [email protected] If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.
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