Mariah Carey just joined the growing list of celebrities opening up about their mental health: The the 48-year-old pop icon told People she was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder back in 2001.
“I didn’t want to believe it,” Mariah said of her initial diagnosis, for which she didn’t immediately seek treatment. “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. 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, one of the best-selling music artists in the world with 200 million records sold and hits like “We Belong Together,” said she was taking medication for the bipolar II form of the disorder, which is marked by less severe mood swings between depression and hyperactivity.
“For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder,” she said.
“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.”
Carey, who is reportedly working on a new solo LP expected later this year, opened up last year about battling deep self-esteem issues since childhood. “Growing up different, being biracial, having the whole thing where I did not know if I fit in,” she told New York Post‘s Page Six before a concert at Madison Square Garden. “That is why music became such a big part of my life, because it helped me overcome those issues,” she said. “Sometimes it is hard to let your guard down.”
Last July, the Starz network announced plans to create a fictional drama series based on Carey’s life. Brett Ratner, best known for directing the Rush Hour film franchise, is set to executive produce alongside the singer.