Mariah Carey has sold over 200 million records since she released her debut album in 1990. She enjoyed the most successful part of her career in her twenties, receiving an award from World Music Awards as the world’s best-selling recording artist of the 1990’s. In 2001 however, she spent two weeks in a hospital after suffering from a physical and emotional breakdown. According to a 2002 interview with USA Today, she attributed her hospitalization to “a collapse from exhaustion” caused by not getting enough sleep for weeks.
In a recent interview with People Magazine, Carey for the first time opens up about her struggle with mental health. She reveals that she was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder when she was hospitalized in 2001, but back then, she “didn’t want to believe it.” Carey says that she “didn’t want to carry around the stigma of a lifelong disease that would define [her] and potentially end [her] career.” She also explains how she had thought for a long time that she was suffering from a sleep disorder. Working for days on end with no sleep seemed to be part of her life. Eventually, she found out that it wasn’t insomnia that kept her going, but a form of mania.
Carey shares that she had been treated for depression, anxiety and sleep disorders in the past, but points out that she doesn’t want to blame anyone for her diagnoses and that she wants to move forward and do what she loves - “make music and write songs and all things creative”. When asked if she’s struggling in finding the right kind of medication, Carey says that she found a good balance for herself and that, as with everything in life, it’s important to not go overboard with anything.
Carey stresses that she’s “hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone.” To her, suffering from bipolar II disorder was incredibly isolating. She shares that she now gets strength from spending time with her children (“what could possibly be more therapeutic than spending time with my kids and laughing and watching them enjoy childhood”), writing songs and making music. Exercising, getting acupuncture and eating healthy are all ways in which she takes care of herself these days.
Most importantly, Carey says that she refuses to allow the stigma of struggling with bipolar II disorder to define her or to control her. She chose to speak out “with the hope of helping others”, but she admits that she herself felt inspired by “the courage of other public figures who have revealed their own battles” before her.