For the first time ever, Mariah Carey opened up about her struggle with bipolar disorder in a new interview with People. Carey, who was first diagnosed in 2001 (when she was hospitalized for a mental breakdown), claims she couldn’t accept the diagnosis when she first heard it.
“I didn’t want to believe it,” said Carey, adding that after the past few years turned out to be “hardest couple years” she’s been through, she finally decided to get help.
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“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.”
Thankfully, 48-year-old Carey finally enrolled in therapy and began taking medication for her condition. Bipolar II disorder—which Carey was officially diagnosed with—typically involves exaggerated emotions cycling through highs and lows, as well as hypomania (a less severe version of the mania linked with bipolar I disorder). Luckily, Carey says the medicine she’s been prescribed has had a positive effect, without any side effects like fatigue.
“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,” Carey explains at the end of the interview. “It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”
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