Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Mariah Carey opened up about her mental health on Wednesday and confirmed her longstanding battle with bipolar II disorder.
“Until recently, I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” the 48-year-old singer told People. “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.”
The octave-leaping siren was diagnosed in 2001 after being hospitalized for a physical and mental breakdown that coincided with years of personal and professional upheaval. The “Dreamlover” chanteuse, whose celebrated career has been marred by episodes of erratic behavior in recent years, ”believed she had a severe sleep disorder,” but what she was experiencing was a form of mania, she said.
“It wasn’t normal insomnia and I wasn’t lying awake counting sheep. I was working and working and working,” she said. “I was irritable and in constant fear of letting people down.”
Bipolar II, formerly called manic-depressive disorder, involves recurrent episodes of depression and hypomania — a less severe form of mania than the type associated with bipolar I — and symptoms can also include irritability, sleeplessness and hyperactivity.
“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,” she told People.
The five-time Grammy winner said that she’s in therapy and that she takes medication to manage the lifelong disorder. She decided to go public because she’s in “a really good place right now” and hopes that the stigma around mental illness is lifted.
“It can be incredibly isolating. It does not have to define you, and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me,” Carey said.
- NARDINE SAAD, LA TIMES