Mariah Carey has opened up about her struggles with bipolar disorder.

The gay icon told People she was diagnosed in 2001 but “didn’t want to believe it”.

“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she said.

“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.”

Carey is now taking medication and in therapy for bipolar II disorder.

Both kinds of bipolar are characterised by extreme highs and lows in mood.

While bipolar I can involve mania, which can be severe enough to involve delusions or hallucinations, the heightened moods of bipolar II can involve euphoria, reduced need for sleep, disinhibited behaviour, irritability, and racing thought and speech.

Bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed as depression because people tend to seek help during depressed periods.

Up to one in five people with the disorder die by suicide.

Carey said that after recently accepting her diagnosis and beginning treatment, her condition is progressing well.

“I’m actually taking medication that seems to be pretty good,” she said.

“It’s not making me feel too tired or sluggish or anything like that. Finding the proper balance is what is most important.”

She said she had experienced periods of unusual insomnia and depressive episodes.

“I was working and working and working … I was irritable and in constant fear of letting people down,” Carey said.

“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.”

Since seeking treatment, she said her condition has improved and she wants to fight the stigma around mental illness.

“I’m just in a really good place right now, where I’m comfortable discussing my struggles with bipolar II disorder,” she said.

“I’m hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone.

“It can be incredibly isolating. It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”

If you or someone close to you needs someone to speak to, you can contact one of these services:

Headspace: 1800 650 890
Beyondblue: 1300 224 636
Switchboard: 1800 184 527
Lifeline: 13 11 14

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