Mariah Carey is known for her impressive voice, catalog of hits and signature flamboyant style, however, the pop diva is currently in the news because she has come forward to break her silence about a struggle she’s secretly dealt with for years.
In the latest issue of People, Carey revealed she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2001 after being hospitalized due to an “emotional and physical breakdown.” While the incident made headlines at the time, Carey said she was still in denial. “I didn’t want to believe it,” she told People’s top editor, Jess Cagle.
As such an iconic public figure, Carey said she was afraid someone would share the news of her diagnosis, which was taking a toll on her life and career. “Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she says. She then explained that keeping her diagnosis hidden from the public was too big a burden. Carey recalibrated: She received treatment, was proactive in getting positive people around her and in doing so she was able to get back to her music. And now, she’s telling her story.
The songstress also explained to Cagle that she experienced hypomania, which can include “elevated mood, inflated self-esteem, [and a] decreased need for sleep.” Before figuring out what was wrong, Carey thought she just had trouble getting enough rest.
“For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder,” she said. “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. 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.”
After receiving proper treatment, the mother of 6-year-old twins, is back in the studio and readying her next album. She also hopes that coming forward to talk openly about her bipolar diagnosis will help reduce the stigma around mental health issues.
“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 said.