Singer-songwriter Mariah Carey has bipolar according to an interview with People magazine, carried on their April cover. Now in her late 40’s, Carey says that she did not seek treatment for many years, thinking she only had severe insomnia.
Now, she is in therapy and taking medication for bipolar II disorder and continuing to work in the studio on her 15th album. Carey hopes that her interview and openness about her illness will help more sufferers seek help rather than remaining in silence and isolation.
“I’m hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone” she says.
Her story is typical for many people with bipolar in that she initially felt that the diagnosis was wrong…
Although she was first diagnosed in 2001 (when she was hospitalized for a physical and mental breakdown), “I didn’t want to believe it,” the superstar singer-songwriter tells PEOPLE editor in chief Jess Cagle.
Carey says she finally sought treatment recently after “the hardest couple of years I’ve been through” — years of professional upheaval, an E! reality show and romantic drama.
“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she says. “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.”
Bipolar II disorder is characterized by episodes of hypomania, which is not as severe as a full-blown manic episode, but which may result in constant, low-level anxiety, irritability and difficulty sleeping. These hypomanic episodes alternate with episodes of extreme depression, but there may not be any predictability to the cycle of alternate moods.