Mariah Carey has become well known in recent years for her glamorous styling, lavish lifestyle and "diva"-like behaviour. But according to the singer, there's another side to her which barely anyone has seen - up until now.
In a twist that seems both unexpected and explains a lot, Carey has confirmed a decades long struggle with bipolar disorder in an interview with People Magazine. She was first diagnosed with the disorder in 2001, when she went to rehab following a well-publicised public meltdown. However, she lived in denial for a number of years before deciding to seek help recently.
"I didn't want to believe it," she says of her early diagnosis. "Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me.”
Instead, Carey self-diagnosed with a sleep disorder. "For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder," she stated. "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.”
However, following "the hardest couple of years" that she's been through in her life, which involved a breakup with fiancee James Packer, a management shake up, a low-rated reality show and an undoubtedly stressful Vegas residency, Carey finally sought treatment.
"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's treatment involves not only therapy but also prescription medication. "I’m actually taking medication that seems to be pretty good. It’s not making me feel too tired or sluggish or anything like that. Finding the proper balance is what is most important," she stated to the magazine.
According to WebMD, bipolar II (the specific form of the disorder Carey has been diagnosed with) is less severe than bipolar I, but it is still marked by the same "ups" and "downs" seen throughout the disorder. During their "ups", biipolar II patients suffer from a less intense version of mania known as "hypomania", while also suffering from bouts of depression.
Carey has said that she chose to open up about the disorder to help others in the same situation. "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."