Mariah Carey is joining the conversation about mental health in a very important way. In this week’s (Apr. 11) cover story for People, the decorated singer revealed that she has been coping with bipolar II disorder for more than decade.
Carey was reportedly diagnosed with the disorder in 2001, when she was notoriously hospitalized for a mental breakdown. “I didn’t want to believe it,” she told the publication.
While the Grammy-award winning singer was aware of her condition very early on, she admitted it took her awhile to seek treatment. “Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she said. “It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore. I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love — writing songs and making music.”
Once she finally sought the help she needed, the “We Belong Together” artist revealed that it was “the hardest couple of years I’ve been through.” “For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder. But it wasn’t normal insomnia and I wasn’t lying awake counting sheep. I was working and working and working,” she recalled of her early coping days. “I was irritable and in constant fear of letting people down. It turns out that I was experiencing a form of mania. Eventually I would just hit a wall. I guess my depressive episodes were characterized by having very low energy. I would feel so lonely and sad — even guilty that I wasn’t doing what I needed to be doing for my career.”
Now, Carey says she’s been taking medication that helps level her out. “I’m actually taking medication that seems to be pretty good,” she said. “It’s not making me feel too tired or sluggish or anything like that. Finding the proper balance is what is most important.”
When asked why she decided to come forward after all of these years, Carey said: “I’m just in a really good place right now, where I’m comfortable discussing my struggles with bipolar II disorder. I’m hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone. It can be incredibly isolating. It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”
Read the full cover story on People.com here.