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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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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