*Mariah Carey is revealing for the first time that she has waged a private battle with bipolar disorder after first being diagnosed in 2001, when she was hospitalized for a physical and mental breakdown following an erratic appearance on MTV’s “TRL” (watch above).
“I didn’t want to believe it,” the singer-songwriter tells People magazine in an exclusive interview.
Carey says she finally sought treatment recently after “the hardest couple of years I’ve been through” — years of professional turmoil, an E! reality show and drama in her love life.
“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she says. “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.”
Carey was able to earn 18 No. 1 hits and more than 200 million records sold while spending many of those years suffering in silence.
She is now in therapy and taking medication for bipolar II disorder, which involves periods of depression as well as hypomania (less severe than the mania associated with bipolar I disorder, but can still cause irritability, sleeplessness and hyperactivity).
“For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder,” continues Carey, now back in the studio working on an album due later this year. “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.”
Carey, who co-parents her 6-year-old twins Monroe and Moroccan with ex-husband Nick Cannon, says she decided to come forward because “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.”
This issue of People arrives on newsstands Friday, April 13.