Mariah Carey has discussed her experiences with bipolar disorder for the first time in an interview with US celebrity magazine People. The multimillion-selling singer said that she was first diagnosed with the disorder in 2001, when she was hospitalised for a physical and mental health breakdown: “I didn’t want to believe it.”
The singer, who is in her late 40s, said that it wasn’t until recently that she sought treatment following “the hardest couple of years I’ve been through”. In 2014, Carey separated from husband Nick Cannon, the rapper and TV host with whom she has twins, Moroccan and Monroe. In January 2016, she announced her engagement to Australian billionaire James Packer, but announced in October 2016 that the engagement had ended.
“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she told the magazine. “It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that any more. 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 she was currently in “a really good place”, and hoped that talking about her experiences would help change perceptions of the disorder. “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.”
Initially, Carey believed she was experiencing a severe sleep disorder. “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. I guess my 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.”
People reports that Carey is in therapy and taking medication for bipolar II disorder, which is characterised by episodes of hypomania and major depression and symptoms including insomnia, irritability and hyperactivity. A bipolar I disorder diagnosis requires the experience of at least one full manic episode.
Carey told People that she has been in the studio recording her 15th album, which follows her 2014 album Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse. The record is expected to be the first release on Butterfly MC Records, Carey’s new joint venture with Sony subsidiary Epic.
In July 2017, it was reported that Carey was co-executive producing a scripted drama about her life for American network Starz.