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Lady Gaga opens up about history with self-harm: 'I was in pain'

The singer and actress spoke with Oprah Winfrey about a difficult period in which she was cutting herself and also offered advice to others with self-harm issues.
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Lady Gaga spoke with Oprah Winfrey for the new issue of Elle about her experiences with cutting and her advice for others who have harmed themselves. FilmMagic
/ Source: TODAY

Lady Gaga has offered advice for others who may be harming themselves after opening up about a difficult period in her life during which she was cutting herself.

The singer and actress spoke to Oprah Winfrey in an interview for Elle magazine about how she recovered from self-harm and what she would tell others going through a similar situation.

"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.

She also detailed how she was able to work through that time with the help of others.

"When I realized that telling someone, 'Hey, I am having an urge to hurt myself,' that defused it,'' she said. "I then had someone next to me saying, 'You don’t have to show me. Just tell me: What are you feeling right now?' And then I could just tell my story.

"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."

Gaga also had some basic practical advice for those looking to stop harming themselves.

"One thing that I would suggest to people who struggle with trauma response or self-harm issues or suicidal ideation is actually ice,'' she said. "If you put your hands in a bowl of ice-cold water, it shocks the nervous system, and it brings you back to reality."

That coping strategy has in fact been recommended by experts, including those with The Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery.

The "Shallow" singer has been outspoken about mental health issues; in 2018, she penned a powerful essay about mental health and suicide.

She also made an emotional plea for mental health awareness after winning a Grammy for "Shallow" from "A Star Is Born" in February.

"If I don't get another chance to say this — I just want to say I'm so proud to be a part of a movie that addresses mental health issues,'' she said. "They're so important, and a lot of artists deal with that, and we got to take care of each other, so if you see somebody that's hurting, don't look away."

Gaga also spoke with Winfrey in the Elle interview about her sultry performance with "A Star Is Born" co-star Bradley Cooper at this year's Academy Awards, living with chronic pain and how kindness has helped her heal.

The December issue of Elle hits newsstands Nov. 11.