How Mariah Carey Accepted Her Bipolar Disorder And Took The First Step To Cope With It

"I refuse to allow it to define me or control me."

Despite being diagnosed in 2001 after a physical and mental breakdown, Mariah Carey is only now coming to grips with the fact that she has bipolar II disorder. In a People cover story, the legendary singer said it was not wanting to believe it that kept her from getting help for so long.


"Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me," Carey told the magazine. "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."

The five-time Grammy winner calls the past few years, and all the things she experienced during them, "the hardest couple of years I've ever been through." This is what pushed Carey to put her mental health first.

"I'm actually taking medication that seems to be pretty good," Carey, who is also in therapy for bipolar II disorder, explained. "It's not making me feel too tired or sluggish or anything like that. Finding the proper balance is what is most important."

Turns out the mother of two initially thought what she had was some sort of "severe sleep disorder," something that made her "irritable and in constant fear of letting people down." What this actually ended up being, though, was "a form of mania."

"Eventually I would just hit a wall," the singer-songwriter, who has amassed 18 No. 1 hits, said. "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."

"I'm just in a really good place right now, where I'm comfortable discussing my struggles with bipolar II disorder. I'm hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone," Carey explained. "It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me."

If you or a loved one is in need of mental health support, contact the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance here.

Cover image: Tinseltown /


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