Mariah Carey is no longer afraid. The pop superstar opened up about her years-long battle with bipolar II disorder in a new cover story interview with People, published Wednesday. According to Carey, she came forward with her mental health condition after years of living in “constant fear someone would expose me.”
“It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore,” the Grammy winner tells the magazine. “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.”
Carey says that she is currently in therapy and taking medication to treat her disorder, which involves periods of depression and hypomania — the variant of mania associated with bipolar II that can cause hyperactivity, irritability and insomnia.
“I’m actually taking medication that seems to be pretty good. It’s not making me feel too tired or sluggish or anything like that,” she continues. “Finding the proper balance is what is most important.”
Carey was diagnosed in 2001 after she was hospitalized for a physical and mental breakdown, but for years, she thought she simply 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.… I was irritable and in constant fear of letting people down. It turns out that I was experiencing a form of mania,” she explains. “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, with a weight lifted off her shoulders, Carey, who is back in the studio working on her next album, feels better than ever.
“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,” she says. “It can be incredibly isolating. It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”