She didn't want to believe it at first: After a mental and physical breakdown in 2001, Mariah Carey — one of the best female vocalists OF ALL TIME — was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, also known as manic depression.
Now, a whopping 17 years later, the legendary singer is finally feeling hopeful again and confident enough to open up about her struggle with the disorder, sharing her diagnosis for the first time in a new interview with People.
The musical icon told the magazine that it was only after the most difficult period in her life — one filled with professional turmoil, the cancellation of her reality TV show, and, of course, romantic drama — that she finally decided to get help.
"Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me," she revealed. "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."
Her story is familiar: Many people living with mental illness suffer in silence. But with the pop star speaking out, her hope (and ours) is that she reduces the stigma and allows those suffering to feel less alone:
The mother of 6-year-old twins Monroe and Moroccan credits medication and therapy for helping her reach a hopeful place.
"Finding the proper balance is what is most important,” she said.
By sharing her own experiences with bipolar disorder, Carey hopes others who suffer from mental illness will realize that "it does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me." AMEN.
Read Carey's entire interview with People here.