Mariah Carey details battle with bipolar disorder in People: 'I didn't want to believe it'

Mariah Carey opens up about her decades-long battle with bipolar disorder in this week's People magazine cover story, revealing that she was first diagnosed with the mood disorder in 2001 when she was hospitalized following a physical and mental breakdown. "I didn't want to believe it," Carey says about the illness (sometimes also referred to as manic-depression). 

 “Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” explains Carey, who finally sought treatment recently after "the hardest couple of years" she's been through recently, which included a management shake-up, as well as the one-season-and-done E! reality seriesMariah's World and a very public split from billionaire boyfriend James Packer. “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.”

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder can cause "unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks." Patients often swing from very "up" and elated manic moods to sad, "down" hopeless periods, with episodes that can sometimes require immediate hospital care. The shifts can also result in unusual behavior (called "mood episodes") in which the person acts drastically different from their typical mood and behavior.

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 07: Singer/actress Mariah Carey attends the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 07: Singer Mariah Carey attends 19th Annual Post-Golden Globes Party hosted by Warner Bros. Pictures and InStyle at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 31: Mariah Carey performs during Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve at Times Square on December 31, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11: Mariah Carey performs live on stage at The O2 Arena on December 11, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 08: (L-R) Bryan Tanaka and singer Mariah Carey are seen leaving the Royal Monceau hotel on December 8, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/GC Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 08: Singer Mariah Carey and son Moroccan Scott Cannon leave the 'Hermes' store on December 8, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/GC Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 06: Singer Mariah Carey is seen on December 6, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Mariah Carey attends the AHF World AIDS DAY Concert and 30th Anniversary Celebration featuring Mariah Carey and DJ Khaled at the Shrine Auditorium on November 30, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Mariah Carey performs onstage during the AHF World AIDS DAY Concert and 30th Anniversary Celebration featuring Mariah Carey and DJ Khaled at the Shrine Auditorium on November 30, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Mariah Carey is honored with Hand and Footprint Ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 1, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Mariah Carey is honored with Hand and Footprint Ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 1, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Mariah Carey Hand And Footprint Ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 1, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: Mariah Carey attends V Magazine honors Karl Lagerfeld after party at Le Bain on October 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: Mariah Carey at a dinner honoring Karl Lagerfeld on October 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Mariah Carey performs onstage during VH1 Hip Hop Honors: The 90s Game Changers at Paramount Studios on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images)
BELLEVUE, WA - SEPTEMBER 06: Global Icon Mariah Carey Announces Mariah Carey Christmas Factory During The Grand Opening Of Sugar Factory American Brasserie on September 6, 2017 in Bellevue, Washington. (Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images for Sugar Factory American Brasserie)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 19: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Mariah Carey and Bryan Tanaka perform in Concert - New York, New York at Madison Square Garden on August 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for imPRint)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 17: Singer Mariah Carey and Bryan Tanaka are seen out on August 17, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - AUGUST 10: Mariah Carey and her children Moroccan and Monroe attend the Mariah Carey concert after party at Sugar Factory American Brasserie on Ocean Drive on August 10, 2017 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Sugar Factory American Brasserie)
CORRECTION - US Singer Mariah Carey speaks at a press conference to announce an agreement with Israeli cosmetics brand Premier Dead Sea, in the coastal city of Tel Aviv on June 26, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ / The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by JACK GUEZ has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [Dead Sea] instead of [Red Sea]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 24: Singer Mariah Carey leaves the Plaza Athenee Dorchester Collection Hotel on Avenue Montaigne on June 24, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 25: Mariah Carey is seen on May 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by gotpap/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 20: Mariah Carey is seen at 'Catch' on May 20, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG008/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 13: (L-R) Monroe Cannon, Nick Cannon, Mariah Carey and Moroccan Scott Cannon attend the Moroccan Scott Cannon and Monroe Cannon Party on Mary 13 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 13: Singer Mariah Carey attends the Moroccan Scott Cannon and Monroe Cannon Party on Mary 13 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 04: Mariah Carey attends Mishka Bulochnikov's 14th Birthday Celebration at Tao Los Angeles on May 4, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 01: Mariah Carey attends the MC Records Launch Party, a joint venture with Epic Records at CATCH LA on May 1, 2017 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 30: (L-R) Monroe Cannon, Nick Cannon, Mariah Carey, and Moroccan Cannon pose with Disney characters at Disneyland on April 30, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 11: (L-R) Monroe Cannon, TV personality Nick Cannon, Moroccan Scott Cannon and singer Mariah Carey arrives at the Nickelodeon's 2017 Kids' Choice Awards at USC Galen Center on March 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 11: Recording artist/singer Mariah Carey (L) and Moroccan Cannon arrive at the Nickelodeon's 2017 Kids' Choice Awards at USC Galen Center on March 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Mariah Carey attends the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Mariah Carey attends the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 15: Mariah Carey and Bryan Tanaka are seen on February 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by gotpap/Star Max/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 15: Mariah Carey is seen at 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' on February 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG017/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 15: Mariah Carey is seen at 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' on February 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 15: Mariah Carey (L) and Bryan Tanaka attend a basketball game between the Atlanta Hawks and the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on February 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 04: Actress/singer Mariah Carey arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'The LEGO Batman Movie' at Regency Village Theatre on February 4, 2017 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 04: (L-R) Gerrick Kennedy, Mariah Carey and guest attend a private party at Catch for Mariah Carey's New Single 'I Don't' ft YG at Catch LA on February 4, 2017 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 04: Singer Mariah Carey attends a private party at Catch for Mariah Carey's New Single 'I Don't' ft YG at Catch LA on February 4, 2017 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)
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Carey tells the magazine that she has spent many of her years in the spotlight suffering silently and that she is now in therapy and taking medication for bipolar disorder II, which has appeared to stabilize the condition without making her too tired or sluggish. “For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder,” says Carey, who is in the studio now working on her follow-up to 2014's Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse. “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.”

The mother of six year-old twins with ex-husband Nick Cannon tells the magazine she decided to come forward now because she feels like she's in a good place and is comfortable discussing her struggle. Click here to read the full story.

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INGLEWOOD, CA - MARCH 24: (L-R) Monroe Cannon, Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon, and Moroccan Scott Cannon arrives at the Nickelodeon's 2018 Kids' Choice Awards at The Forum on March 24, 2018 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 13: (L-R) Monroe Cannon, Nick Cannon, Mariah Carey and Moroccan Scott Cannon attend the Moroccan Scott Cannon and Monroe Cannon Party on Mary 13 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/FilmMagic)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 01: (L-R) Nick Cannon, Mariah Carey and Floyd Mayweather attend the MC Records Launch Party, a joint venture with Epic Records at CATCH LA on May 1, 2017 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 30: (L-R) Monroe Cannon, Nick Cannon, Mariah Carey, and Moroccan Cannon pose with Disney characters at Disneyland on April 30, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 11: (L-R) Mariah Carey, Monroe Cannon, Moroccan Scott Cannon and Nick Cannon during at Nickelodeon's 2017 Kids' Choice Awards at USC Galen Center on March 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/KCA2017/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 11: (L-R) TV personality Nick Cannon, Monroe Cannon, singer Mariah Carey and Moroccan Scott Cannon at Nickelodeon's 2017 Kids' Choice Awards at USC Galen Center on March 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 22: (L-R) Nick Cannon, Monroe Cannon, Mariah Carey, and Moroccan Cannon attend Mariah Carey's Halloween Party on October 22, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon attend MTV First: Mariah Carey's 'You're Mine (Eternal)' music video world premiere at MTV Studios on February 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18: Singer Mariah Carey and actor/TV personality Nick Cannon arrive at the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 05: Mariah Carey (L) and Nick Cannon attend Lee Daniels' 'The Butler' New York premiere, hosted by TWC, DeLeon Tequila and Samsung Galaxy on August 5, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 17: TeenNick Chairman and HALO Awards host Nick Cannon and singer Mariah Carey attend Nickelodeon's 2012 TeenNick HALO Awards at Hollywood Palladium on November 17, 2012 in Hollywood, California. The show premieres on Monday, November 19th, 8:00p.m. (ET) on Nick at Nite. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images For Nickelodeon)
SANTA MONICA, CA - OCTOBER 06: Singer Mariah Carey and TV personality Nick Cannon pose for pictures with their twins Monroe Cannon and Moroccan Scott Cannon during 'Family Day' at Santa Monica Pier on October 6, 2012 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 07: Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon arrive at the 12th Annual BMI Urban Awards held at Saban Theatre on September 7, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 11: (L-R) Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon attend the 2012 Project Canvas Exhibition & Art Gala at The Opera Gallery on May 11, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
Mariah Carey and her husband Nick Cannon during the their vows renewal ceremony to celebrate their fourth year of marriage, in Paris (Photo by Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 27: Mariah Carey and her husband Nick Cannon during their wedding vows renewal ceremony, photocall at Maison Blanche on April 27, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage)
Mariah Carey with Moroccan Scott Cannon & Nick Cannon onstage during the BET Honors 2012 at the Warner Theatre on January 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images)
ASPEN, CO - DECEMBER 31: Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon are seen on December 31, 2011 in Aspen, Colorado. (Photo by Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
ABC NEWS - Barbara Walters interviews pop superstar Mariah Carey and her husband Nick Cannon (Photo by Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images)
(EXCLUSIVE, Premium Rates Apply) (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Singer Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon attend TNT's 'Christmas in Washington 2010' at the National Building Museum on December 12, 2010 in Washington, DC. 'Christmas in Washington 2010' airs on TNT December 17 at 8pm. 20792_004_0010.JPG
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 20: (Exclusive Coverage) Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon attend the launch of 'Merry Christmas II You' at Allen Room at Lincoln Center on October 20, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
Singer Mariah Carey and her husband, actor Nick Cannon attend the Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Shane Mosley welterweight fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 1, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 07: Singer/actress Mariah Carey (L) and husband Nick Cannon arrive at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre on March 7, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Brian To/WireImage)
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