Mariah Carey Shares The Symptoms That Led To Her Being Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder — And Why She Was Scared People Would Find Out

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New Details About Mariah Carey's Battle With Bipolar Disorder
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She's been struggling in silence for 17 years.

Mariah Carey opened up to PEOPLE Magazine about her secret 17-year struggle with bipolar disorder.

The award-winning singer said she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2001 but only came to terms with it recently.

Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” Carey explained. “It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore.”

She said at first, she refused to accept the fact she had a mental disorder.

“I didn’t want to believe it,” she told PEOPLE editor-in-chief Jess Cagle.

Carey, who has sold over 200 million records over the course of her career, hid her fight from the world as she spent many years in the spotlight.

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Her bipolar II disorder symptoms include “episodes of extreme highs and extreme lows,” but is less severe as bipolar I disorder, according to Health Line.

Carey deals with depression and irritability, sleeplessness, and hyperactivity caused by hypomania, a less severe mania than bipolar I disorder.

For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder,” she explained to the magazine. “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.”

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Though it wasn’t easy and didn’t happen overnight, the superstar finally decided it was time to accept her diagnosis. She said what were “the hardest couple of years" she's been through have prompted her to work toward a solution to live as best she could with the disorder she battled daily.

“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 said.

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She has been put on medication and is coping quite well with her struggle.

I’m actually taking medication that seems to be pretty good,Carey told PEOPLE. “It’s not making me feel too tired or sluggish or anything like that. Finding the proper balance is what is most important.”

The “All I Want For Christmas Is You” singer says she is “in a really good place.”

Carey, who co-parents her 6-year-old twins with ex-husband Nick Cannon, wants the world to focus on eliminating mental health shaming and decided to speak up about the issue and share her story so that others know they are not controlled by their disorder.

“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.”

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