Mariah Carey Reveals Her Mental Illness Diagnosis For The First Time Ever

There are two universally known truths about Mariah Carey. The first is that she's an extremely talented singer, and the second is that she is a diva, but not in the good sense of the word.

Over the years, the "Hero" singer went from being at the top of the music industry to a laughing stock, mainly because of her bizarre antics and reputation for being high-maintenance.

Mariah Carey

An entire book can be written about the controversial incidents the Queen of Christmas has been involved in.

From frequent wardrobe malfunctions, dramatic break-ups and rebounds, disastrous performances, public meltdowns, and sexual harassment accusations, the cameras have captured it all for the world to see.

Diva moments

Fans have long questioned the pop star's grasp on reality, and their concerns became even louder after the 47-year-old's painfully awkward New Year's Eve show in 2016.

The "Vision of Love" singer fumbled through the songs then stopped performing halfway through her set, revealing that she had been lip-syncing the whole night.

Mariah Carey

To make matters even worse, she refused to take any responsibility for the mess, and instead blamed the Dick Clark Production company for sabotaging her show.

"I don't know why, it's not OK that I was victimised and vilified by the situation," she said at the time.

Prior to the NYE incident, Mariah had already been known for arriving late to her concerts, delivering lackluster performances, and acting out publicly.

However, there's more to her actions than any of us knew.

Mariah's other viral moments include telling her backup vocalist to "stop singing my part now, baby" in the middle of her Good Morning America performance, then a few years later, while appearing on the same program, she had a wardrobe malfunction when her Versace dress came unzipped.

Her famous "I don't know her" reply after she was asked about her rival Jennifer Lopez became a meme that will forever live on the internet.

Many reporters and hosts have also complained about Mariah being extrememly hard to work with.

Mariah Carey

Good Morning Britain's Eamonn Holmes revealed that he once went "all the way to Vegas" to interview the "Fantasy" singer, but she insisted on lying down during their chat.

"So I said 'Well if you're gonna lie down I'm lying down too,'" Eamonn recalled, adding, "It didn't end well."

The host explained that Carey is very self-aware of her antics. After all, they do say that any publicity is good publicity.

His claim is backed up by Mariah herself, who at least seems to have a sense of humor about it.

She recently appeared in a commercial for Hostelworld, and she mocks her own diva behavior in the ad.

"Even divas are believers," she says at the end of the clip.

Still, none of these incidents were as serious as her hospitalization back in 2001.

A nervous breakdown

The pop diva was in midst of promoting her new album, the soundtrack to Glitter, when she checked herself into a hospital due to "extreme exhaustion."

Both her reps in London and New York revealed that the artist had been "working around the clock" on many projects, including filming two movies and creating the soundtrack.

"What I'd like to do is just take a little break or at least get one night of sleep without someone popping up about a video," Carey wrote on her official message, but it was later deleted. "All I really want is to just be me and that's what I should have done in the first place ... I don't say this much, but guess what, I don't take care of myself."

Carey cancelled all her public appearances and performances at the time, so she could rest and recover.

According to some fans, Carey had been showing signs that something was wrong prior to her breakdown.

Just a week before taking a hiatus, she made an impromptu appearance on MTV's TRL, and wouldn't let the host, Carson Daly, go to a commercial break.

"She just hasn't been herself for a little while, and it just caught up with her," Mariah's rep came to her defense.

It was later revealed that the singer was placed under psychiatric care, which led to reports that she tried to kill herself.

A secret diagnosis

Once again her rep released a statement denying the suicide claims, instead she said that the singer suffered a "physical and emotional collapse."

It took 17 years, but the truth finally came out in a recent interview Mariah had with People. The multi-octave singer revealed for the first time ever that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder following her nervous breakdown all those years ago.

Mariah's silent struggle

Mariah told the publication's editor-in-chief, Jess Cagle, that she "didn't want to believe it" when doctors told her she had bipolar disorder.

Despite her diagnosis, Mariah did not try to seek help.

"Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me," she admitted.

Mariah Carey
The Fader

It took a few years for the singer-songwriter to understand the severity of her condition, and finally got help.

"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."

She channeled all her efforts into keeping her mental illness a secret from the public. So while the media was ripping her apart for the way she had been behaving, Mariah was suffering in silence.

"For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder," Mariah candidly explained. "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."

Fighting the stigma

Mariah eventually had an enough is enough moment, and finally sought out help.

She has been in therapy for sometime now, and is also taking medication for bipolar II disorder, which is characterized by symptoms like depression, hypomania, and insomnia.

"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," Mariah said.
Mariah Carey on stage
Daily Mirror

Mariah's revelation has been met with a lot of support and sympathy.

Many who chalked up some of her outlandish behavior to just being a celebrity now have a better understanding of why she was so quick to lose it in public.

"Brava to her for coming out," clinical psychologist Joan Cook, an associate professor at Yale University, told Moneyish. "I think whenever people like that that we admire come out, it sort of normalizes it and validates it for us: If she can have it, it's OK for us to have it, too."

So why did she choose to come clean now?

Mariah said she is "just in a really good place right now, where I'm comfortable discussing my struggles with bipolar II disorder," and she's ready to fight the stigma surrounding mental health.

"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."

Kudos to Mariah for opening up about a very personal issue. While not everyone was able to relate to her before, there are 44.7 million people in the United States who live with a mental illness who understand what she had been going through.

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.