Mariah Carey Opens Up About Living With Bipolar Disorder

By Victoria Kim 04/13/18

“I didn’t want to carry around the stigma of a lifelong disease that would define me and potentially end my career.” 

Mariah Carey

In a new interview with People magazine, singer-songwriter Mariah Carey revealed that she has been living with bipolar disorder. The legendary songstress, who was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder in 2001, feared the reaction she’d get if she was found out.

“I didn’t want to carry around the stigma of a lifelong disease that would define me and potentially end my career,” she said. “I was so terrified of losing everything.”

Bipolar II disorder is characterized by manic and depressive moods that are less intense than bipolar I disorder.

“For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder. But it wasn’t normal insomnia and I wasn’t lying awake counting sheep,” said Carey. “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.”

Mariah shared a photo of her People magazine cover on her Instagram, saying, “I’m grateful to be sharing this part of my journey with you.”

While the singer hid her diagnosis for almost 20 years, she decided to “come out” and free herself of the isolation and fear that it spurred.

“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she said. “It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do it anymore.”

Perhaps she was inspired by fellow artists of a new generation like Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez, who have been candid about their struggles with mental health.

“I’m just in a really good place right now, where I’m comfortable discussing my struggles with bipolar II disorder,” said Carey.

The singer said that a regimen of therapy and medication has helped her manage her bipolar disorder and get back to making music. Mariah has been working on a new album that’s due later this year.

“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,” she said.

The singer hopes that by finally freeing herself of the secrecy of her condition, she’ll help others feel more comfortable talking about their struggles.

“I’m hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone,” she said. “It can be incredibly isolating. It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr