Many celebrities—Demi Lovato, Carson Daly, and the Rock, to name a few—are using their platform to get real about mental-health struggles. Hopefully the honesty will both destigmatize these issues, which affect so many people, and also empower those suffering to seek the help they need. And now, after being diagnosed in 2001 with bipolar disorder, Mariah Carey is also sharing her story, which she “didn’t want to believe” for so long.
In fact, she originally thought the issue was actually a sleeping problem, Carey told People. “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.” Eventually the Grammy winner learned she was actually experiencing mania.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), it’s common for people who have bipolar disorder to experience episodes where they feel great, are super productive, and function well, and they don’t recognize that something is wrong. But then the situation often takes a turn in the opposite direction. “Eventually I would just hit a wall,” Carey says. “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 hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone.” —Mariah Carey
Carey said it’s been a rough couple of years, but now that she’s in therapy and taking medication for bipolar II disorder, she’s taking her life—and sleep schedule!—into her own hands again. And she wants other people to know they don’t have to deal with their diagnosis in isolation. “I’m hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone,” Carey says. “It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”
The musician says she was in “constant fear” that word would come out about her bipolar disorder before she was ready, but she’s realized there’s nothing shameful about dealing with a mental-health condition. Hopefully her transparency will show others that getting the appropriate help and treatment is the best way to live your best life.
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