Mind

“I would feel so lonely”: Mariah Carey reveals her 17-year battle with bipolar disorder

“It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore…”

By Candice Mehta-Culjak
Mariah Carey has spent over 30 thirty years in the spotlight, but there's one aspect of her life she's managed to keep away from prying eyes: her struggles with bipolar disorder.
Speaking with People Magazine, the 48-year-old revealed that she was first diagnosed with the illness following a physical and mental breakdown in 2001, but she "didn't want to believe it."
"For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder," she told the publication. "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."
She added: "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 platinum-selling pop star finally sought treatment following what she described as "the hardest couple of years" of her life, including no small amount of heartbreak and professional upheaval.
In 2014 she divorced husband Nick Cannon, who she shares two children with. She was then engaged to casino mogul James Packer before calling it quits in 2016. What's more, her E! reality show Mariah's World was canceled after just one season.
"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."
Mimi and James took their love public in 2015, stepping out in Capri.
The duo became engaged before going their separate ways in 2016.
Mimi is now attending therapy and taking a medication for bipolar II, which is characterised by periods of depression as well as hypomania. She also said she exercises, eats healthily, receives acupuncture, and spends time with her kids -- six-year-old twins Moroccan and Monroe.
"I'm actually taking medication that seems to be pretty good. 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.
The singer-songwriter, who is now back in the studio with an album due out later this year, hopes to ignite a more open conversation about bipolar disorder by sharing her story.
"I'm hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone," she said. "It can be incredibly isolating. It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me."

According to the Herald Sun, Packer is currently in America while he focuses on his health.
The businessman, whose late father was media mogul Kerry Packer, has previously opened up about his battle with depression.
"My marriage [to Jodhi Meares] had broken up. I felt like a failure. When I was at my lowest Tom Cruise reached out to me. He believed in me when other people didn't," he revealed in a 2013 interview with Sunday Night.
WATCH: James Packer appears on Sunday Night. Post continues...
What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric illness that sees someone experiencing days, weeks and sometimes months of extreme moods of mania and depression, ranging between the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
According to Better Health Victoria, bipolar can impact people differently, and the affects can be so severe that someone may endure symptoms of psychosis, making them unable to distinguish reality from fantasy.
What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder and depression?
No appetite and loss of weight
Struggling to concentrate
Overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness
Suicidal thoughts and behaviour
Feeling anxious or guilty without reason
Withdrawal from people and activities
What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder and mania?
Irritability and aggression
Running on empty without sleep
Feeling complete euphoria (like a 'high') or extremely energetic
Lavish, unrealistic plans
Thinking and speaking quickly
Unsafe sexual activity
How is it treated?
Bipolar disorder can be treated through counselling and education, which can help someone better understand and manage their condition, as well as medication.
If you would like to learn more about bipolar disorder, get in touch with your local GP.
If you, or anybody you know needs support or more information, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit Beyond Blue.