"Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me," Carey explained. After seeking treatment — she is in therapy and taking medication for bipolar disorder — she felt comfortable discussing her struggle. "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."
Carey was first diagnosed in 2001 after suffering a heavily-publicized "breakdown." Representation for Carey at the time released a statement attributing her hospitalization to "extreme exhaustion." MTV News reported at the time that Carey had told the outlet months before her breakdown that she was hardly sleeping.
"I'm honestly really, really delirious and stressed out and overworked and doing too much," she admitted. "I haven't slept in like two weeks and that's an important detail for you to know."
Speaking to People, Carey said she thought for a while that she had a sleep disorder. "But it wasn’t normal insomnia and I wasn’t lying awake counting sheep," she said. "I was irritable and in constant fear of letting people down. It turns out that I was experiencing a form of mania."
Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme changes in mood. Mania occurs at the zenith of these changes — it's a "good" mood taken to its most toxic form. For Carey, this meant working overtime and driving her body into an adrenaline-fueled insomnia. (Insomnia is a common symptom of manic episodes.) Carey added that her depressive episodes would leave her sluggish and feeling guilty. "I would feel so lonely and sad — even guilty that I wasn’t doing what I needed to be doing for my career," she said.
Last year was a turbulent one for Carey. Her limp 2016 New Year's Eve performance went viral, then, her ex-fiancé James Packer became embroiled in legal troubles, which Carey had to answer for. The same year, though, Carey released "I Don't," a return-to-form breakup anthem. In an interview with Refinery29, she admitted that recording the song — ostensibly about her split from Packer — had been refreshing.
"I decided to write a song about where I'm at, and it’s been great to be able to make a video and do all that stuff again, because that’s what I love. I’ve been doing the live performing for the past few years and that’s fun and I love seeing all the fans all over the world, but I really love making music in the studio," she said. "So yes, it’s a new day, it’s a new moment."
If you are experiencing depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.