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mental health

Mariah Carey opens up about her bipolar disorder

Mariah Carey has opened up about her struggles with mental illness.

In an interview with People published Wednesday, the singer-songwriter revealed that she was diagnosed in 2001 with bipolar disorder. Specifically, Carey said she was diagnosed with bipolar II, which is "defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes," the National Institute of Mental Health explained. Depressive episodes are characterized by low moods and energy, while manic episodes generally manifest with increased energy and erratic behavior.

Carey said she initially thought she had "a severe sleep disorder," as sleeplessness can be one of the side effects of a manic episode. But after being hospitalized after a breakdown in 2001, she was diagnosed as bipolar. Initially, "I didn't want to believe it," Carey said, and she decided not to receive treatment for her illness. Only recently, during "the hardest couple of years" of her career, did she finally start taking it seriously, she told People.

Now, Carey is in therapy and taking medication to treat her disorder. She finally chose to open up about her mental health, she said, because "it was too heavy a burden to carry." "I lived in constant fear someone would expose me," Carey explained. "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."

The platinum-selling star is back to writing and recording music now that she's getting the treatment she needs, and she is expected to release an album later this year. Read more of Carey's interview at People.