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Mariah Carey Reveals Battle With Bipolar Disorder: ‘I Refuse to Allow It to Define Me’

Mariah Carey attends a Roc Nation brunch at One World Observatory in New York City on January 27, 2018.
Mariah Carey attends a Roc Nation brunch at One World Observatory in New York City on January 27, 2018.Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Mariah Carey is speaking out for the first time about her mental health. The pop diva revealed in a new interview that she was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder in 2001 after being hospitalized for a physical and mental breakdown in the wake of a headline-making TRL appearance.

“I didn’t want to believe it,” Carey told People. “Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me. It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore.”

Related: Stars Who’ve Battled Mental Health Issues

Initially, the “Hero” singer-songwriter thought she had a severe sleep disorder. “But it wasn’t normal insomnia and I wasn’t lying awake counting sheep,” she told the magazine. “I was working and working and working. … 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.”

Carey said she recently sought professional help after enduring “the hardest couple of years I’ve been through,” which included a public breakup with her fiancé James Packer in 2016, a disastrous New Year’s Eve performance later that year and a split from her longtime manager Stella Bulochnikov in 2017.

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“I sought and received treatment,” explained the five-time Grammy winner, who is now dating choreographer Bryan Tanaka. “I put positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love — writing songs and making music.”

Carey is now in therapy and learning to cope with the disorder. “I’m actually taking medication that seems to be pretty good,” she told the publication. “It’s not making me feel too tired or sluggish or anything like that. Finding the proper balance is what is most important.”

These days, the “Fantasy” songstress is busy at work in the recording studio, working on an album due later this year. She is also coparenting her 6-year-old twins, Monroe and Moroccan, with ex-husband Nick Cannon, to whom she was married from 2008 to 2016.

Related: Mariah Carey’s Bikini Body Through the Years

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

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