As a spiritual teacher and the host of "Iyanla: Fix My Life," Iyanla Vanzant often draws upon her own spiritual experiences and life lessons to help others in crisis. But nearly four decades ago, the young mother was in the midst of a near-fatal crisis herself.
"The first time I saw -- experienced -- what I knew to be God, it was feminine," Iyanla says. "It was a woman, in the mirror, standing behind me. [She] said to me, 'Your beauty is within.'"
Iyanla didn't just hear a voice speak those words -- she says she actually saw a physical being. And that wasn't the only time she says God spoke to her. "The second time, I had the same experience with the same vision, the same apparition, whatever you want to call it," she tells Oprah.
That second experience, Iyanla reveals, came at a dangerously low point in her life.
"I had slumped to the floor in my kitchen in the midst of postpartum depression at 21 years old. I had taken an overdose of everything I could put my hands on and I could feel the life leaking out of my body," she remembers. "I looked up and there it was again. She said to me, 'Do you really want to die?' and I said, 'No, I just don't want to hurt.'"
Iyanla says that the next thing she remembers is waking up in a psychiatric ward.
"For me, it was just a pause. It was too much happening too fast," she says. "I was overloaded."
Iyanla lifted herself out of that dark space and now provides spiritual counseling and no-nonsense life advice on "Iyanla: Fix My Life." In addition to her own spirituality, Iyanla also credits her time in law school with helping prepare her to share her wisdom with others.
"[Law school] trained me how to think, how to analyze, how to see, how to get out of the negativity, how to build an argument," she explains.
While she was in law school, however, Iyanla had an epiphany. "I realized I didn't come to learn man's law. I came to learn God's law," she says.
Though it's clear where her intellectual approach stems from, Iyanla finds it difficult to explain how she is able to counsel others on a more spiritual level. "There's no intellectual definition for that depth of spiritual unfolding. I just make myself available to God," she says. "It's a very powerful state of surrender."
New episodes of "Iyanla: Fix My Life" return to OWN this spring.