In the newest issue of PEOPLE magazine, Mariah Carey is going public with her mental health struggle, revealing her longtime bipolar disorder diagnosis and how she is not letting the condition define her.
First diagnosed in 2001 when she was hospitalized for a physical and mental breakdown, the pop icon said that she "didn't want to believe it." However, she finally sought treatment recently after "the hardest couple of years" of her life. "Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me," she explained in the new cover story, which was released on Wednesday (April 11). "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 is now in therapy and taking medication for bipolar II disorder, which involves stages of depression as well as hypomania. It's a learning process for the singer and the right medication is very much a factor of it all. "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," she said.
"For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder," she continued. "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 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."
For now, it seems like Carey has found a sweet spot in tending to both her personal life and career as she's also hard at work on a new album, which is due later in the year. "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 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." For more on the singer's battle with bipolar disorder, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, which hits newsstands Friday.