Mariah Carey Talks About Living With Bipolar Disorder for the First Time

Mariah Carey opened up about living with bipolar disorder in an article for People magazine on Wednesday. This is the first time the singer has spoken publicly about her diagnosis.

Carey told People she was diagnosed in 2001, but “didn’t want to believe it.” After experiencing what she called the “hardest couple of years I’ve been through,” she finally reached out for treatment.

Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me. 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.

When she first experienced symptoms, Carey said she thought she had a sleep disorder — but soon realized her trouble sleeping was actually due to hypomania, characteristic of bipolar II disorder.

It wasn’t normal insomnia and I wasn’t lying awake counting sheep. I was working and working and working … 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.

Fans on Twitter reacted positively to the news of Carey’s diagnosis, congratulating her for speaking out:

Carey said she’s in a good place right now, although she knows how isolating the stigma of mental illness can be. “I’m hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone,” she said. “It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”

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