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Mariah Carey reveals secret bipolar disorder diagnosis

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Mariah Carey just shared some personal information that she’s kept hidden for years.

In a cover story for People magazine, the singer revealed that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder back in 2001 when she’d been hospitalized for an “emotional and physical breakdown.” But it took Carey some time to really accept her diagnosis. “I didn’t want to believe it,” she said.

Fortunately, the songstress has recently sought help after experiencing a rough few years. “Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” Carey explained. “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.”

Since seeking treatment, Carey now goes to therapy and takes medication for her condition — bipolar II disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, bipolar II disorder involves both depressive and hypomanic episodes, the latter of which may consist of “abnormally upbeat” behavior as well as irritability, racing thoughts, sleeplessness, and poor decision-making — though the specifics of the disorder may vary from person to person.

Noting that she’d previously thought she had a sleep disorder, Carey, now 48, said that it wasn’t “normal insomnia.” Rather than “lying awake counting sheep,” she instead couldn’t stop working and lived “in constant fear of letting people down.” That sleeplessness apparently turned out to be a type of mania. But that feeling wouldn’t last. At some point, Carey said, she’d “hit a wall” and would experience a depressive episode. Rather than stay awake at night working, she would instead have “very low energy” and would feel “lonely and sad.” She’d also feel “guilty,” thinking she was not working hard enough for her music career.

Luckily for Carey, she seems to have found medication that works well for her. “I’m actually taking medication that seems to be pretty good,” she told People. “It’s not making me feel too tired or sluggish or anything like that. Finding the proper balance is what is most important.”

So, why did Carey decide to speak out now about her bipolar disorder, a condition that celebrities like Demi Lovato have helped raise awareness for? Well, she told People, “I’m just in a really good place right now, where I’m comfortable discussing my struggles with bipolar II disorder.” She added, “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.”