The singer has discussed the condition for the first time in a new interview, saying she was first diagnosed with it in 2001 after being hospitalised for a “physical and mental breakdown”.
Speaking to People, she said: “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 said that at first she had thought she was suffering from a “severe sleep disorder”, but said what she was going through didn’t feel like “normal insomnia”. “I wasn’t lying awake counting sheep,” she said. “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.”
The star explained that her depressive episodes “were characterised 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,” she said.
In the interview, she explained that she was suffering from bipolar II, which saw her experience mood changes, but not severe manic episodes like a bipolar I sufferer. She also said she was speaking out about her diagnosis to help lift the stigma around the condition.
“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 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.”