Mariah Carey has bravely spoken about her battle with bipolar II disorder for the first time. The singer, 48, told PEOPLE that she ‘lived in denial’ and ‘constant fear of being exposed’ after her 2001 diagnosis, after she was hospitalised for a physical and mental breakdown.
She said: ‘I didn’t want to believe it. 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.’
Mariah said treatment came after ‘the hardest couple of years I’ve been through’, which involved her professional life, an E! reality show and romantic troubles.
Bipolar II is said to be difficult to diagnose. The condition means she endures bouts of depression as well as hypomania, which can cause irritability, sleeplessness and hyperactivity). The difference between bipolar I and II is that bipolar II sufferers won’t have experienced a full manic episode.
The mother of six-year-old twins Moroccan and Monroe, from her marriage to Nick Cannon, explained that she is feeling positive about the future.
‘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.’
‘For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder… It turns out that I was experiencing a form of mania… I guess my depressive episodes were characterized by having very low energy. I would feel so lonely and sad.’
In 2001, it was revealed that Mariah was undergoing psychiatric treatment in hospital after a nervous breakdown and a suspected suicide attempt, which her publicist denied at the time.
Her spokeswoman Cindy Berger had said that Mariah had cancelled all public appearances after experiencing an ’emotional and physical breakdown’.
She had signed a multimillion-dollar contract with Virgin Records and was allegedly depressed about the break-up of her three-year relationship with Latin heart-throb Luis Miguel.
He was her most serious boyfriend since her failed marriage to Sony Music chief Tommy Mottola.
Despite selling tens of millions of albums through numerous No 1 hits like Fantasy, Dream Lover and Always Be My Baby, her single at the time, Loverboy, had been languishing in the charts.
She also faced the pressure of publicising Glitter, the movie about an aspiring pop star, that she stars in and provides the soundtrack for.
Just before being admitted to hospital, Carey left two despondent and incoherent messages on her official website, complaining of being overworked and getting too little attention from her new record label.