Pop star Mariah Carey says she recently began treatment for bipolar disorder that was diagnosed in 2001. She said she had kept the condition secret for fear of being stigmatized.
“I didn’t want to carry around the stigma of a lifelong disease that would define me and potentially end my career,” the five-time Grammy Award-winner, 49, says in the new issue of People magazine. “I was so terrified of losing everything, I convinced myself the only way to deal with this was to not deal with this.”
“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” said the record-setting singer, who was born in Huntington and raised in Greenlawn. “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. As hard as this is, I also knew it was time to finally share my story.”
She explained, “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.”
After separating from her singer/TV-personality husband, Nick Cannon, and breaking off an engagement to Australian billionaire James Packer in 2016 following upheaval caused by her E! reality show, “Mariah’s World,” Carey said she finally sought treatment. The decision followed “the hardest couple of years I’ve been through.” She endured severe criticism for an audio malfunction in a New Year’s Eve Times Square telecast in 2016, and canceled several shows at the beginning of her annual Christmas tour last year.
The National Institute of Mental Health, a division of the National Institutes of Health, defines the bipolar II disorder Carey said she was diagnosed with as “a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but not the full-blown manic episodes of bipolar I disorder.” Depressive episodes typically last at least two weeks. Manic episodes may include symptoms such as increased activity levels, increased energy, increased agitation or irritability, rushing speech or thoughts, and having trouble sleeping.
The mother of 6-year-old twins Moroccan and Monroe, whom she shares with Cannon, told People she is now “in a really good place.” Carey added that she is making her diagnosis public because, “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.”