Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour: Lady Gaga

On January 4, Lady Gaga joined Oprah on stage in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for an honest conversation about mental health and self-care. Watch the incredibly inspiring interview and read the full transcript below.

Watch Oprah interview Lady Gaga below:

 

 

Read the full transcript:

 

OPRAH: Hello. (Applause.) All right. We ready? (Applause.) We're ready. 

So when I decided to hit the road with WW for a full day of wellness, I knew one of the things I wanted to do was invite some of the country's most influential trailblazers and game changing thinkers in the world to join me. So these are the rare few who have actually channeled their fame and harnessed their own experiences to become a force for all that it means to be well and to do well in this world. So I'm honored that my very first guest came to Fort Lauderdale to share herself with all of us today. Please welcome the incomparable Lady Gaga. (Applause.) (Lady Gaga entrance.) Lady Gaga. Have a seat. Oh, I was looking at that Elle shoot. Hey. 

LADY GAGA: How are you?

OPRAH: Welcome. 

LADY GAGA: Thank you so much for having me.

OPRAH: Welcome, welcome, welcome. (Applause.) Let the people absorb it all. (Applause.) Thanks for coming. I was saying to reporters yesterday, I was really nervous about asking you. First of all, because I—it's one of those things— 

LADY GAGA: (Laughter.) 

OPRAH: I was. So nervous about asking you. 

LADY GAGA: And then you asked me and I was, like, move my vacation. I'd do anything for Oprah. 

OPRAH: Aw. (Applause.) And that's why. Because, you know, people are usually on vacation. And just sort of getting back into the new year. But the fact that you said yes so immediately. When we were actually having a conversation that ended up in Elle magazine, and you were so forthcoming and so honest, I was, like, we need to be sharing this with some people on a stage. So thank you. 

LADY GAGA: Thank you so much.

OPRAH: So we've been talking about vision. And everyone gave up their Saturday to come out and start the process of getting clarity for their own vision. They knew you were coming, too, so I think you were a part of it. 

LADY GAGA: Oh. I think—I think this stadium would have been full without me, Oprah. I'm pretty sure you can fill a—fill a room. 

OPRAH: I think it's the whole package. That people are seeking higher ground for themselves. People are looking to make the best life possible for themselves. 

LADY GAGA: And you know what?

OPRAH: What? 

LADY GAGA: I want that for every person in this room, and I want it for the world. 

OPRAH: Yes. Absolutely. I want to know when you got clarity for yourself about the vision of creating Gaga.   

LADY GAGA: Well, you know, at first when I was younger, I—I went through a lot of struggles in high school. I was really bullied. I didn't feel good about myself. And I got made fun of. Like why do you want to be a singer? Why do you want to be a musician? Why do you want to be an actress? And I felt so secluded and isolated. And it was time, once I dropped out of college, I will admit—stay in school—(laughter)—but I dropped out of college because I was, like, I have to pursue my dreams as a musician. This is what I want. And it was in creating Gaga, that I was able to create a superhero for myself. It was a vision for the me that I wanted to be. I wanted to be confident. I wanted to be filled with self-compassion. I wanted to be filled with   compassion for others. And I wanted to share my story and my vision of the world with the world. 

OPRAH: And so you created this sort of alter person, Gaga. 

LADY GAGA: Who now has become me also. 

OPRAH: Yes.

LADY GAGA: I don't know what happened but it sort of—but that's what happens when you have a vision for yourself, you can be here, right? (Indicating.) And then you have your vision. And then all of a sudden—(indicating). 

OPRAH: The two merge. 

LADY GAGA: They come together. 

OPRAH: You become aligned.

LADY GAGA: Yes.  

OPRAH: And you say Lady Gaga, the creation of Gaga actually gave Stefani the wings to fly. 

LADY GAGA: Gaga, myself, has given me the wings to fly. And what I was going to, you know, add is that now, after almost over a decade of being in the industry, I recognize my position that people are watching me. Now, I could hyper-focus on being objectified or being in tabloids or being gossiped about, but you know what? I'm thinking to myself, oh, the world is watching. And I have something important to say. And I want to change people's lives. And now my mission is different. And I have a responsibility to this whole world. 

OPRAH: Yes. Because one of the things that we discussed in Elle, one of the things that surprised me when we talked about it in the recent Elle magazine, you were saying—I was saying you have spent a lot of time shocking the world. That meat dress was the first time we all, like, were kind of aghast. And you said you have now reached a point in your life where you don't feel the need to create some identity of shocker—shocking people.

LADY GAGA: Yes. I think it was something that I enjoyed to bemuse people so they would listen to the music and there was sort of a state of confusion of who is this woman? I don't really—I'm, like—it's kind of like, you know, watching a train wreck. You know? But the truth is that that was part of my art form was, how do I get people to see and watch and listen and become engaged with me on a personal level? Even though it felt quite superficial I think for a lot of people. And it's changed since then because, number one, it's no longer shocking to have pink hair. And number two, I think the most shocking thing that I could possibly do is be completely vulnerable and honest with you about my life, how—what I've been through, the struggles that I've seen that I have also been a part of, and share that with the world so that I can help other people who are suffering. And one of those things that I deeply care about is mental health. 

OPRAH: Yes. Gaga has agreed so graciously to be a part of a series that I'm doing for Apple TV with Prince Harry on mental health, and she's agreed to allow us, actually, to follow her through a lot of the process. One of the things that struck me when you were at the Oscars, and everybody started whispering was it truth that you and Bradley were or were not or were not and Gaga, tell them what you told me.

LADY GAGA: I said, we did a really good job at fooling everyone. 

OPRAH: Because they're actors.

LADY GAGA: We created that. 

OPRAH: They created the whole thing. Because it wouldn't have worked if you didn't believe that they were in love. 

LADY GAGA: I mean, I don't know if everyone here knows who Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire were, but would you have wanted to watch them perform and look like they hated each other? 

OPRAH: Yeah. So one of the things I loved was your speech where you laid it all out there in the few seconds that you had. You said, ‘If you're at home and you're watching this right now, all I have to say is this is hard work. I've worked hard for a long time. And it's not about just winning. It's about not giving up. And if  you have a dream, fight for it.’ And this is the part I love so much, y'all. This is worth a quote: ‘There's a discipline for passion. And it's not about how many times you get rejected or you fall down you've been beaten up. It's how many times you stand up and are brave and you keep on going.’ I just love that. ‘There's a discipline for passion.’

LADY GAGA: Thank you. There is—there is a discipline for passion. And guess what? This book that you've given everyone today—

OPRAH: Yes.

LADY GAGA: —this entire event, this is also an exercise in a discipline of passion for yourself. This is the time that is for you to give back to you. When you give back to yourself, you sit in a state of gratitude. And then you are able to give to those around you and be kind. That is how we heal the world.

OPRAH: So someone had asked you what do you see when you look at that Oscar, and you say you see a lot of pain. And is that because of the hard work? Or is that because of the actual physical mental pain that you had to go through up until that moment to get it? 

LADY GAGA: Well, it's not a huge secret, but some of you might not know in the audience tonight or who's watching, but I struggle with mental health issues. And I struggle also with chronic pain. Some call it fibromyalgia. Or neuropathic pain. 

OPRAH: What does that mean, fibromyalgia? What does that mean? 

LADY GAGA: That is a very big question, Oprah. So fibromyalgia is essentially a chronic pain condition that makes your body hurt through your brain. Now, someone that might be watching this that has it might be saying, don't tell me that my fibromyalgia is in my head because my whole body hurts. And even sitting here with you today, I'm in head-to-toe pain. But what's interesting about it is that I've found through neuropsych research and my relationship with my doctors that fibromyalgia can be treated through mental health therapy.  And mental health is a medical condition. It should be treated as a medical condition. It should not be ignored. And I—

OPRAH: So twice you've said you have mental health issues.

LADY GAGA: Yes.

OPRAH: What does that mean for you? Because as I was sharing with you on the phone, I have a girls' school with girls who have come from traumatic backgrounds.

LADY GAGA: Yes. 

OPRAH: And I didn't know, until I started this school, because I had this idea that I'm onna create this school and everybody's gonna come and they're gonna get an education and they're gonna go out in the world and everything's gonna be fabulous. I had no idea the impact that trauma—

LADY GAGA: Yes.  

OPRAH: —has on your mental health.

LADY GAGA: Well, I've shared this with you, and I will share it again, very vulnerably with all of you. I could object my book and read it, but I'll just tell you. So I was raped repeatedly when I was 19 years old. And I also developed PTSD. 

OPRAH: As a result of the rape? 

LADY GAGA: As a result of being raped. And also not processing that trauma. I did not have anyone help me. I did not have a therapist. I did not have a psychiatrist. I did not have a doctor help me through it. I just all of a sudden became a star and was traveling the world going from hotel room to garage to limo to stage. And I never dealt with it. And then all of a sudden, I started to experience this incredible, intense pain throughout my entire body that mimicked, actually, the illness that I felt after I was raped. 

So what that is called—

OPRAH: Were you raped by someone you knew?

LADY GAGA: I was raped by someone that I knew. Repeatedly. And it was a—a trauma response. So when you asked me about what fibromyalgia is, what I would like for you to know, and to shine a light on, is that many people don't know what it is. And we need to all get together and figure this out. And this is how we're gonna do it. There's the neuropsych aspect. There's also an immunity aspect that where there is a possibility that the immune system has something to do with fibromyalgia or trauma response or neuropathic pain. Whatever you want to call it. And there's also some similarity in my condition to autoimmune diseases. But fibromyalgia is not an autoimmune disease. So what I take an oath, as a commitment today, with you, is it's 2020. And for the next  decade, and maybe longer, I'm going to get the smartest scientists, doctors, psychiatrists, mathematicians, researchers, and professors in the same room together and we are going to go through each problem, one by one, and we are going to solve this mental health crisis. (Applause.)  

OPRAH: So you're raped and you have no way of processing that. The triggers come in all forms in ways that you cannot predict. And show up in your life in areas that at the time you don't know that this is mental illness. You shared with me that you became a cutter.

LADY GAGA: I did. 

OPRAH: And that—

LADY GAGA: I have scars.

OPRAH: And that you have scars from cutting. Can you explain to me, because I have girls at my school who cut. And I—I still to this day don't understand what it means. And I know, if you are in this audience, some of you have raised daughters who were cutters. 

LADY GAGA: Yes.  

OPRAH: What is that? 

LADY GAGA: Well, I like to say I used to cut. 

OPRAH: Yeah.

LADY GAGA: As opposed to saying cutter. And I think I did say that with you in our interview. 

OPRAH: Yes. I love you. 

LADY GAGA: I love you, too, sweetheart. I like to say I used to cut as opposed to, I am a cutter. Because then that, like—then I identify with it. 

OPRAH: Yeah.  

LADY GAGA: And that's not healthy for me.  And when you speak things out into existence, you're feeding something back into your brain that you don't want to.

OPRAH: Right. Right. 

LADY GAGA: So I used to cut. Cutting for me, I believe, happens for a variety of reasons. I also used to throw myself against the wall. I mean, I used to can do some horrible things to myself when I was in pain. And the truth is, is there's two reasons, I believe, that this happens. And this is my own personal expertise, just from my experience. Is that for half a second, right? If you cut, you get some relief from the other pain that you're feeling. Because you have pain somewhere else. But then after, what happens is, is then you see the blood. And then you feel chaotic. And then you spiral more and more out of control. And it is actually not helpful in any way. And it is going to make your spiral worse. It will make the neurotic state that you're in something that is going to be prolonged instead of shortening the amount of time that you're in it. Another reason, though, that people cut also is to show. And my mom and I always say with Born This Way Foundation, tell me. Don't show me. So sometimes I would cut because I didn't want to feel pain. And other times I would cut because I wanted to show people that I was in so much pain. 

OPRAH: That you were in pain.

LADY GAGA: That I needed help. 

OPRAH: Yeah. And so when you were speaking on stage at the Oscars about working—it's not about winning. It's about never giving up all the times you were beaten up and you kept getting up, what kept you getting up? 

LADY GAGA: All of you. (Indicating.) (Applause.) And women like you. (Indicating.) Faith. Inspiration. Hope. 

And I also have to say, I have to say it, and I know that this is controversial in a lot of ways, but medicine really helped me. And I—(applause)—I think a lot of people are afraid of medicine for their brains to help them. And I really want to just erase the stigma around this because I am sick of saying it over and over and  over again. And also, by the way, if your primary care doctor is—is prescribing you an antidepressant and—an antidepressant, this should not be happening. Your primary care doctor should be introducing you to a psychiatrist who is an expert in brain medication. (Applause.) And what—what moves me so much in this space, and why I want to work so heavily and much more thoroughly through it in the future, is that not everybody has access to these things. And not everybody has the money for these things. And I want the money for it, I want the best doctors in the world, and I want us to understand the brain and all get on the same page about it so that GenZ does not have to deal with this the way that we are right now. Mental health is a crisis. 

OPRAH: And so medication has helped you.  

LADY GAGA: Medications helped me tremendously. I mean, I—I take an antipsychotic. I'm—I'm in the 1.4 percentile of people that do but—

OPRAH: And if you didn't take that medicine, what would happen? What would your life be like? 

LADY GAGA: I would—I would spiral—spiral very frequently. And I would spasm in my sleep. 

OPRAH: Wow. So are you able to remain creative in the midst of the pain? 

LADY GAGA: Yes. 

OPRAH: Really. 

LADY GAGA: Yes. And that has come from both medicine, therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy—  

OPRAH: DBT therapy. Yes.

LADY GAGA: DBT therapy, yes. And also it's come through something I learned through DBT, which is called radical acceptance. I am sitting here with, arguably, the most powerful woman on the planet. 

OPRAH: Oh, thank you. Thank you.

LADY GAGA: And I have radically accepted that I will put my shame in a box all the way over there and make it very small. (Indicating.) And say to myself, I have mental health issues. I take a lot of medication to stay on board. And I'm a survivor. And I'm living and I'm thriving and I'm strong and I'm gonna take all my life experiences and I'm gonna share them with the world and make it a better place. 

OPRAH: Wow. (Applause.) Which is what we've been talking about today, that you can't move forward with anything in your life until there is actual radical acceptance. 

LADY GAGA: You have got to—I have—I had—I mean, listen. I needed, like, a glass of wine when they told me this.I remember sitting with my doctor, his name's Andy, and Andy's like, you need to radically accept that you're gonna be in pain every day. And I was, like, are you—kidding me? I was, like, that's how I'm gonna heal? By just accepting that I'm gonna feel awful all the time? I'm gonna be in head-to-toe pain constantly? And he said, you have to radically accept it. And guess what? It took a little while, but I did. And you know what else happened after that? 

OPRAH: What?  

LADY GAGA: Slowly, the pain dissipated. Slower and slower and slower. And then all of a sudden, I can function. Because I was on the—I was on the couch, Oprah. I was laid out. I could not move. I was being assessed by doctors to see if they could—I had a psychotic break. I told you this in our interview before.  

OPRAH: Yes.

LADY GAGA: They were just trying to see if they could get me to move at one point. And radical acceptance was key. Also being open to taking medicine. And also being open to talking about my trauma. And it's one of the hardest things that any human can face. And it's a lot easier to go home and have a bottle of wine, or two, or three. Right? Like just numb it all away.

OPRAH: Right. 

LADY GAGA: Or dig deep. 

OPRAH: Well, I think this idea of radical acceptance applies to every crisis, every difficulty, every challenge in your life is what I was saying earlier, that all stress comes from wanting something to be what it isn't. And it doesn't change until you first accept it for what it is. And then make a decision about what do I do next? 

LADY GAGA: It's problem-solving. You know? It's something in DBT that they teach you is about emotions, and then—I'll explain it. So if I say I'm upset. Right? Then I'll say, why am I upset? And then I will write down all the reasons. And then I will check the facts. And if the emotion of feeling upset fits the facts, then I'll go to the next stage and I will say, okay, what action am I going to take now to solve this problem? So if I'm upset because I'm in pain, right? Then what's my action going to be? I'm going to take my medication that's going to help me. I'm going to reach out to a friend or my doctor and tell them that I'm not feeling well, and I'm going to try to get to the core of the issue inside of me and speak it out into existence and do the cognitive work to say, I am upset because today I am triggered about being raped when I was 19 and I'm having a trauma response and I'm gonna take my medication and I'm going to try to calm down my nervous system as much as possible so that this pain dissipates. 

OPRAH: And that's the process for you. That is the process. 

LADY GAGA: That's one of many processes. I can get triggered by lots of different things. By movies. Things that people say. I could get triggered by this conversation. 

OPRAH: Yeah.  

LADY GAGA: I'm not. Whatever. 

OPRAH: I don't want you to be triggered by this conversation. You know what I found interesting, you became famous—you became famous really quickly, even though there had been so much work put into  getting to the point where we then knew you and you became famous. And you made the decision, or have made the decision that you're not interested in just fame but you're also looking for impact. 

LADY GAGA: I want impact. I always did. I thought it was just through music at one point. I had some dreams of being an actress. And then it really was a spiritual awakening for me. I mean, I consider myself a spiritual, religious woman. I don't go to church every Sunday. But I do pray every day. I prayed, like, eight times before I came out here with you. I was, like, God, just tell me what to say. And the truth is that once I became  famous, I thought to myself, well, I can—I will, and I want to continue making music, I will and want to continue being in movies, but I want to help people. These people that come to my shows, I don't want to just take your money and sing for you. I want to help change your life. And I have all this life experience. And I can't—you know, when I talk to God, right? And you know whatever you want to call it for yourself. If it's God or the other realm or your angels or—

OPRAH: By any name. 

LADY GAGA: By any name. 

OPRAH: It responds.  

LADY GAGA: Any gender. Right? It responds. When I talk to God, I say, tell me what to do. Because I'm being watched. And I want to do the right thing here. So tell me what to say. Tell me how to say it. And help me see the path. And if you show me that path, I will walk down it. And do you know what, Oprah? Look where that path has led me. I am sitting right next to you. 

OPRAH: Ah. (Applause.) Hah. Every time. Ask and you shall be given. What has been your greatest spiritual awakening? Greatest spiritual awakening.

LADY GAGA: I think my greatest spiritual awakening actually has been quite recent. I think it's that I realize that I have the chronic pain that I have for a reason. And I don't mean to be, like, God gave it to me. You know? And I also don't believe in that, like, karma thing where you're sick because you did something bad. 

OPRAH: Yeah.

LADY GAGA: But I do believe that this was—this happened for a reason. All the things I've been through, I think they were supposed to happen. I was supposed to go through this. 

OPRAH: Even the rape. 

LADY GAGA: Even the rape. All of it. I think I was supposed to go through all of these things. I radically accept that they happened. And I think it happened because God was saying to me, I'm going to show you pain. And then you're gonna help other people who are in pain, because you're gonna understand it. 

OPRAH: Mm. Because you can't—you can't give what you don't have.  

LADY GAGA: I can't look away. Because now when I see someone in pain, I can't look away because I go, no. You're in pain. I'm in pain, too. And then now, I'm in problem-solving mode. I've got my suit on and my heels and I'm ready to go.

OPRAH: Yes. So this wisdom came from this pain. What has been the lesson that's actually taken you the longest to learn? 

LADY GAGA: How to be wise.

OPRAH: Ah. 

LADY GAGA: See, there is the rational mind. And there is the emotional mind. And I think from day to day, we all experience ourselves, if we're mindful, in some type of way, which I think this is good to be mindful about, is am I operating from an emotional space today? Or from a rational space today? Meaning, when I say rational, I mean cerebral. Like intelligence. Thoughts. Facts. You know, just really pragmatic. And emotional meaning, like, am I operating from the heart? Am I really upset because my boyfriend broke up with me and I'm a mess, you know, and I'm just being completely irrational. Wise sits in the center. Wise is when you are both rational and emotional at the same time, and those two things meet and you become  wise. And that was the lesson that I learned. I had to learn how to pull myself back from either place, and then sit in the center. Because actually, a psychotic break, and if you look in the brain, or its eye sort of a 

metaphor about the brain, you're centered in here. Right? 

OPRAH: Because you had a psychotic break.  

LADY GAGA: I had a psychotic break. I'll explain what happened. Here's my brain. Right? Here's my center. Right? And then I was triggered, really badly, in a court deposition, and I just, like, this—this part of the brain where you stay centered and you don't disassociate, right? It went like this. (Indicating.) It slammed down. And my whole body started tingling, and I started screaming. 

OPRAH: Where were you? 

LADY GAGA: I was in a hospital. And it's very—it's very difficult to describe what it feels like other than that you first are completely tingling from head to toe, and then you go numb. But what is essentially happening is the brain goes, ‘That's enough. I don't want to think about this anymore. I don't want to feel this anymore.’ Boom. And— 

OPRAH: You literally break from reality as we know it. 

LADY GAGA: You break from reality as we know it. You have no concept of what's going on around you. There is nothing wrong. But you are in a traumatic state that you feel like—like I remember going into the hospital and screaming, why is no one else panicking? Why aren't you panicking? And then they run a psychiatrist in and then—and I'm in head-to-toe pain at the same time. Right? And they brought in a psychiatrist. And I said, can you get me a real doctor? And he was, like, hey, so nice to meet you. And he sat down. And I was, like, I need medicine. I don't feel well. I can't feel my legs, I—help me. Right? And then he just said, I need you to explain to me what happened today. And I was so annoyed. But I'm telling you this story because even I who run Born This Way Foundation with my mother was irritated that they brought a psychiatrist in to help me. I mean, that's how, like, gone I was. I was so separated from the world. And once we started talking, he realized what had happened to me, and then he ordered medication for me that I took, reluctantly, at first, and then he became my psychiatrist and assembled a team for me, and I went away to a place that I go to sometimes still for, like, a reboot.

OPRAH: Yeah.  

LADY GAGA: And they took care of me and we got all of the things lined up. And I have a very unorthodox, actually, set of pills that I take. But they—they saved my life. And I'm very grateful. 

OPRAH: Well, I think this is remarkable that you feel so open-hearted, vulnerable enough to share this. Was there a time when you were afraid of it getting out? Like Gaga's had a psychotic break, y'all. 

LADY GAGA: You know, I think I was more scared of the psychotic break itself than I was about people knowing about it. I mean, when your brain, like, flatlines like that, I mean, it's—it's something I would never want to ever experience ever again.  

OPRAH: And when that happened, did you—were you thinking about your famed life? Your life as Lady Gaga? Were you thinking those days may be over? Were you thinking—

LADY GAGA: I was thinking two different things. So to answer your first question, at some point, I had to tell people. Because I can't live a lie. I'm an authentic person. And here I am. And I'm—I'm perfectly imperfect. You know? It's, like—and we all are. And we all have our things that we go through. And I just felt like why wouldn't I share this when I share all of myself with the world all the time? And I could maybe help people that have had psychotic breaks. Or maybe are on the verge of having one. And, you know, spread my message. But when I was there, one of the very first things that we talked about in my therapy work was objectification. And that I didn't feel that I belonged to myself anymore. I felt that I belonged to the world.  

OPRAH: Wow. So how did you get you back for you? 

LADY GAGA: Oh, a lot of hard work. 

OPRAH: Yeah. Are you still in the process of that? 

LADY GAGA: I'm past that part. I feel that I belong to myself now. And I feel also that I belong to the world. And I've made peace with those things. And I think—and I'm happy with them. But, you know, it takes the hard work, the same way that [Oprah's 2020 Vision Tour Workbook] is hard work. 

OPRAH: Yeah. 

LADY GAGA: Meaning, you have to go in and—you have to really answer those questions. Like don't be—don't be crafty. Don't try to get a good score.

OPRAH: I thought some people—we learned a lot by watching people do it today. Because I think for some people, it's the first time they've ever actually asked themselves that question, some of these questions. And it takes time to actually think about what your true answers are.

LADY GAGA: And also the ego—

OPRAH: Yes.

LADY GAGA: —has got to go.

OPRAH: Because the ego just wants to score high.

LADY GAGA: The ego wants to win the test. A plus. I'm perfect. 

OPRAH: Yes.

LADY GAGA: Nope. Don't do it. You're doing yourself a major disservice. Go in there and answer those questions authentically. And then study them. And radically accept your score. Say, this is where I am.

OPRAH: And wherever you are, that's where you're supposed to be right now. 

LADY GAGA: It's where you're supposed to be right now. And then you can actually problem solve. You cannot problem solve if you're lying to yourself. See, I got to a place where I didn't know who I was anymore. So I broke. My brain shut off. Right? But once I started to get to know myself again, I was able to, you know, turn all the knobs. 

OPRAH: Why didn't you know yourself anymore? Is it because you've given so much yourself to the little monsters? To your fans? To the world? To your work?

LADY GAGA: I just didn't stop moving. I just was moving and moving and working and working and dancing through insurmountable pain. And I will say, it took years for me to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. And even if you ask my psychiatrist, he doesn't even refer to it as that. He'll call it neuropathic pain or a trauma response. So I was going to the doctor all the time getting, like, my whole body X-rayed. MRI-ed everything. For someone to tell me something was wrong. Like tell me I have a herniated disk or something. And they couldn't find anything. And it was so, so frustrating. So I was also on tour dancing in excruciating pain. And I wasn't properly medicated. And I wasn't in therapy. 

OPRAH: And so what were you telling yourself? 

LADY GAGA: I was afraid I was gonna die. 

OPRAH: So you're performing on stage in front of thousands and thousands of people all over the world. And every night going to bed thinking you were going to die. 

LADY GAGA: Yeah.  

OPRAH: And you lived that way for how long? 

LADY GAGA: I would say I lived that way for about five years.

OPRAH: That's so sad.

LADY GAGA: And I radically accept those five years because they made me who I am. (Applause.) 

OPRAH: I get that. I get that. But it also feels, Gaga, so lonely. You know, I think we live in this Instagramed world where everybody wants to be famous and they want to post their lives as they want us to think that it is. And this idea of what your life is like and what we see and what we've been exposed to about you, people think, oh, gosh, I would just love to have that life. You can't have this life unless you're willing to have every part of this life. Including the rape. Right? 

LADY GAGA: Yep. 

OPRAH: You have to have every—take it—take it all.

LADY GAGA: Well, including the rape and also no one wanting to help me, you know? 

OPRAH: Yes.

LADY GAGA: In an industry where everyone has someone on each other, so no one wants to help you out.

OPRAH: Really.

LADY GAGA: Oh, yeah. No one wanted to help me. No one wanted to help me go after that person to put that person where they belong. Which is jail. 

OPRAH: Yeah.  

LADY GAGA: And I'm not ashamed of it. But I—you know, through the whole Me Too Movement, I've made the personal choice not to say who it is because I choose to not relive it. And that's my personal choice. And I hope that the world respects that. 

OPRAH: Yes. But let's talk about the loneliness for a moment. I think everybody has this assumption that if you're famous, you're always surrounded by people who are doing things for you and you're being supported and nourished and given everything that people imagine in their lives they would want for themselves. But it's also a lonely journey. 

LADY GAGA: It's lonely. And when you have chronic pain, it's extra lonely. Because it's just you that has it. And you can't make someone else feel it. You feel completely alone. And let me tell you something. I might be famous. But if you think that someone's bringing me caviar all day? They're more likely to be giving me a bowl of ice to dunk my head in so I don't have a dissociative state. So my friends that I work with, I don't ever say that people work for me. They take care of me every single day so that I can be healthy and do my work, do what I love, and also because they so much believe in my mission, and for all of them that are here today, I would like to thank you so much for what you have done for me,  my second family, so that I can be here with Oprah and talk to you about this importance of self care. And shine a light on something that is so 

important. Let's be radical. Let's change things. (Applause.)

OPRAH: So you had radical acceptance. And what you just mentioned, looking at yourself from the point of view of, I just said to a reporter yesterday, giving more love to yourself. How did you learn to move from radical acceptance to radical love for yourself first? 

LADY GAGA: Well, you know, some days are better than others. Some days I have lots of self-love. Some days I have less. Some days I have lots of self-confidence. Some days I have less. But I had to radically just accept that. That every day can be different. And that's okay. It doesn't mean we're not moving forward. 

If you—you know, in therapy, they say sometimes when you take three steps forward, you might also take one step back. What's important is to try to keep tabs on making sure that if you take two steps forward, you don't also do something that takes you ten steps backwards at the same time. So, you know my practice, and my commitment is—is gratitude. And—

OPRAH: Gratitude even in the midst of the pain? 

LADY GAGA: Gratitude even in the midst of the pain. I do this all the time. I will be laying on my porch in pain crying. And I will say, thank you, God, for this pain. Thank you. I surrender it to you. This is—this pain is  meant for me and my body right now. I'm here in this moment. And I'm learning. Thank you for teaching me.

OPRAH: Wow. Amen to that. (Applause.) So what's the things that you do on a regular basis to keep yourself whole? Medication. So you're medicated all the time?

LADY GAGA: Yes. Every day. 

OPRAH: Every day. What's your ritual? 

LADY GAGA: If I took my pill box out, it would sound like a rattle, like a baby rattle. 

OPRAH: Really.  

LADY GAGA: Oh, yeah. 

OPRAH: Okay. 

LADY GAGA: I mean—I don't mean to laugh, but it's kind of funny. 

OPRAH: And has the—

LADY GAGA: But I'm healthier than I've ever been.

OPRAH: Oh. 

LADY GAGA: In my whole life. 

OPRAH: Does the medication affect your creative process at all? 

LADY GAGA: It does not affect my creative process. I don't take anything that does. When I get further down the road of creating this epicenter of mental health and healing, I will share more with the world on a scientific level what these medicines are.  

OPRAH: So you're not on pain medication.  

LADY GAGA: I take no narcotics at all. No pain meds—no. 

OPRAH: Yeah.  

LADY GAGA: If I call my doctor and I'm in a lot of pain and I say, I—I—I need something to take this pain away. It's just too much. You know, it's been 11 days. It's been 11 days. He says, well, you can go to the hospital and you can ask them to give you pain medication, and then I'm gonna tell them no. And it's—what they're gonna give you is already in your purse. So just go to your purse and take your medication and be in pain in the privacy of your own home. And he doesn't mean it to be not nice to me. It's just that this is how we keep me safe, you know? And this is how I want to keep the world safe as well. I don't want people in pain taking pain medication. This is not the way that this is going to work. People will become addicted. And there is—there is a correlation between mental health and chronic pain and mental health is the biggest crisis in the world. Right? So what's happening is, is while mental health is the biggest health crisis that we have, right? There's also chronic neuro patting pain being produced by this. 

OPRAH: So I want to just be clear, because I don't want people leaving here today saying, you know she's on drugs. I want to be very clear. So you're on antidepressants? 

LADY GAGA: I'm on antidepressants.I am on a—a medicine called Methocarbamol. And I am on an antipsychotic called Olanzapine. And I take a few other things that are stress-based. 

OPRAH: Yeah. 

LADY GAGA: But I want to be very careful about saying any of this, you know, in a public way to tell anyone what to take. You know, this is not—it's not the same for everyone. So I want to be very clear that if you feel that you need help, you need to go to a psychiatrist and you need to be properly evaluated by that psychiatrist so that you can get  the help that you truly need. What I take is not necessarily what you need to take. 

OPRAH: And did you have to go through a series of different drugs until you got the right one? Because I know a lot of times people— 

LADY GAGA: Yes. Yes, I did. I had to go through a series. And actually, one that helped me the most was a drug called Modafinil. I don't know if anyone knows that drug. But it's a—it's—in the morning, when I wake up, I'm in tremendous pain most of the time. And it just kind of turns the lights on. And my brain just kind of wakes up. And then before I know it, the pain starts to dissipate a little bit. 

OPRAH: So— 

LADY GAGA: But no narcotics. 

OPRAH: No narcotics. 

LADY GAGA: No pain pills. 

OPRAH: No pain pills. 

LADY GAGA: No Xanax. 

OPRAH: Not even a Xanax?

LADY GAGA: Not even a Xanax. (Laughter.) 

OPRAH: Okay.  

LADY GAGA: I'm not judging you. 

OPRAH: Okay. Don't. (Laughter.) 

LADY GAGA: I mean, we could—we could offline have a conversation about other drugs that are better than Xanax maybe. 

OPRAH: Okay, listen. I only—I started taking Xanax after my dog Luke was—we needed Luke to take Xanax to fly because he was like a wreck flying? And it calmed him so I thought, I might need one of those. (Laughter.) 

LADY GAGA: Yeah.  

OPRAH: So when I'm traveling— 

LADY GAGA: Traveling or when you sign your tax returns probably.   

OPRAH: When I'm traveling—no. When I'm traveling in various time zones and I can't get to sleep. I take a half of one of Luke's pills sometimes. (Laughter.)  

LADY GAGA: You—you looked at me with such shame in your eyes. There is no shame in taking Xanax. It's okay.

OPRAH: Okay. There's no shame. 

LADY GAGA: I have my baby rattle. Okay? And you have your Xanax. And we all need our things. Okay? 

OPRAH: I don't call it Xanax. I call it Luke's pills. (Laughter.) Because my dog's name is Luke. And Luke's pills. Anyway. No—no shame. 

LADY GAGA: No shame. 

OPRAH: No shame.  

LADY GAGA: No shame. Actually, that is very important. Because, look, it might be a process. You know?  And you might have to try this and then try that. But the important thing is that you're working with someone that's an expert in medicine. So, please, when you leave here today, having heard from me about this, or anyone that's watching this later, you know, please leave knowing that I'm sharing my personal experience  with you, but I am not prescribing you. 

OPRAH: For sure. You got that. Right? 

LADY GAGA: You understand?

OPRAH: Yes. 

LADY GAGA: Okay? And I'm not at liberty to prescribe you. I just am sharing my story, and I have an unorthodox box of medication. And it has changed my life. 

OPRAH: So you use medication, but you also do many other things to keep yourself spiritually sound and centered.  

LADY GAGA: Yes. So I meditate. 

OPRAH: Yeah.  

LADY GAGA: I do transcendental meditation. It's—it's great. 

OPRAH: Yeah. 

LADY GAGA: Bob Roth taught me. 

OPRAH: Bob Roth taught me.

LADY GAGA: Isn't he great? 

OPRAH: He's great. 

LADY GAGA: Sorry. 

OPRAH: Okay.  

LADY GAGA: And so I do that. And when I slip up on it, you know it's not the best because it's like—it's better when I do. And sometimes I can be in a ton of pain and meditate and it goes away. It's amazing. I also work out every day. But I also listen to my body. So if I'm in a lot of pain and deep stress, I might not do either as hard of a workout or I might, you know, not work out at all. I do listen to my body and I listen to what it's telling me. I do talk therapy. Dialectical behavioral therapy. And I also do lots of other things like opposite action, for example. So let's say you're feeling really depressed and you're at home and you've been at home for seven days straight and you just can't  leave the house and you just—you practice opposite action. Someone invites you to go somewhere, or you reach out to a friend and you say, hey, you want to play a game of poker? Get up, get in your car, and go. Opposite action. That's something that I do all the time. 

OPRAH: So you're actively working on yourself all the time.

LADY GAGA: All the time I actively work on myself. I have to. If I don't, I will sit and I will be in pain all day.  

OPRAH: So when is the process of creating [your next album] LG-6 happening? 

LADY GAGA: For years. 

OPRAH: For years. For years.

LADY GAGA: Not four years, but for years.  

OPRAH: Okay. And it's happening. 

LADY GAGA: Uh-huh.  

OPRAH: Okay.  

LADY GAGA: Don't worry. We're having a—a self-care conversation. But I still am going to make music. Don't worry. (Applause.) 

OPRAH: Because we were talking earlier, I was talking earlier to Julianne Hough and she said dance is her superpower. 

LADY GAGA: Oh, yeah. 

OPRAH: Your superpower is music?

LADY GAGA: You know, I think I have a few superpowers. I just haven't used 'em all yet. I'm getting ready. I've got a wand in my purse.

 

OPRAH: I know your superpower, certainly one of them was creating the Born This Way Foundation. 

LADY GAGA: Thank you. 

OPRAH: I think it's one of the greatest things you've done.

LADY GAGA: Thank you. 

OPRAH: Not only did you have that great—that anthem that became an anthem for so many people's lives, to say, I radically accept myself as I am, because I was born this way. So tell us what you intended, because intention is so important to us, what you intended when you created the work of that Born This Way Foundation. 

LADY GAGA: The work of that foundation was something that a lot of people didn't understand for a long time. 

OPRAH: Yeah. 

LADY GAGA: They're, like, what do you guys do? Like, you raise money for what? We were, like, for a kinder and braver world. And they would go. (Indicating.) Like that's—it's really that simple. We just—we want to create a kinder and braver world. And they're, like, I don't understand. So what we do is we do research. And we also provide resources so that people can learn more about mental health, the importance of kindness, and also we've put mental health first aid in schools around the country. And as also part of my commitment, this might be separate from the other epicenter of healing work that I want to do— 

OPRAH: Yeah.   

LADY GAGA: —is I want a mental health professional in every school in this country. 

OPRAH: We need it. 

LADY GAGA: And I want mental health to be its own class. What is health class, sex ed? Is that what we're still doing sex ed?

OPRAH: I don't even know. 

LADY GAGA: I mean, what are we learning about in health class? We should be learning about the brain. And the heart. 

OPRAH: We should be learning about the brain and how that works. 

LADY GAGA: And the mind and the body and its connection and all the things.

OPRAH: Yes.

LADY GAGA: So I want there to be someone in every school that someone can go to if they're in need of help or that someone can go to if they see that someone else needs help. And then at the same time, it is a requirement in every school that you learn about the importance of kindness, you learn about triggers, you learn about depression. Fourty-four percent of the population is suffering from depression. And it's because of loneliness. This is because of our cell phones and social media. This is not lonely because we don't have partners. The—we are literally collapsing around each other all—there's all these walls and we're collapsing around each other unable to have this personal, interpersonal connection. It's—it's got to stop. 

OPRAH: It's got to stop. And I know that one of the things you're doing with the Born This Way Foundation is your approach to courage is to take little bites of bravery and teaching other people how to—which I love this idea of little bites of bravery. 

LADY GAGA: Just be a little braver every day. You know? Like if you feel like you can't do something, just—just go do a little. Just a little bit. And I promise you, before you know it, you're taking a bill ol’ bite of bravery. And it's amazing. It's—and it can be something small. Like for me, if I don't feel well and maybe I have an off day, I have nothing to do, but I don't feel well, simply by, you know, taking a bath and massaging some CBD oil on my body and then going to the mirror, brushing my hair, putting on some makeup, getting dressed, you know, these are also things that you learn in DBT.  Right? That if you don't feel well, what— whether it's mind or body, just—you've got to keep moving. You've got to keep going. It's called throwing yourself into the moment. Throw yourself into the moment. Take a little bit of a bite of that bravery. Even if you only make it to the bath and you don't make it to the mirror, you did something. 

OPRAH: And I know that for you, I would say gratitude is my religion. It's the thing I practice with, you know, deep consciousness and a sense of regularity and discipline about it. And for you, that is kindness.

LADY GAGA: It is kindness. Kindness heals the world. I said this with the Dalai Lama once. I said, the earth is a slowly rotting apple on the kitchen counter. 

OPRAH: Oh, no. 

LADY GAGA: It's the truth. 

OPRAH: Okay.

LADY GAGA: I'm sorry. But it's just true.  I mean, it's like— 

OPRAH: The earth is a slowly rotting apple?

LADY GAGA: But it's slow. It's really slow. Right? But we have to be kind to that apple, to the humanity of that apple, and we have to be kind to the environment to keep that apple alive as long as possible.

OPRAH: Yes.

LADY GAGA: And that's through kindness. 

OPRAH: Yes. Yes. 

LADY GAGA: And I have actually my commitment here.

OPRAH: I want to hear your commitment. 

LADY GAGA: I commit to gratitude to bring the greatest minds I can find in the world together to one by one solve the mental health crisis that is plaguing our world. I want to create an epicenter of healing. Because when I give to others, I give also back to myself.

OPRAH: Indeed. Lady Gaga. (Applause.)  

Gave up her vacation to come and sit and share her truth with us. Thank you. 

LADY GAGA: Can I just say, Oprah, I love you. 

OPRAH: I love you back, girl. I love you back. (Applause.) Lady Gaga. (Applause.) 

LADY GAGA: Have a beautiful day. Bye, guys.

 

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Find out more about the special guests on Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour!