Mariah Carey shares her 17-year battle with bipolar: "It was too heavy a burden to carry."

Mariah Carey has shared her 17-year battle with bipolar disorder in an interview with People Magazine.

Carey, 48, told the magazine when she was first diagnosed following a physical and mental breakdown in 2001, she “didn’t want to believe it”.

“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she said.

“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 says in her time battling bipolar II disorder, she has sought treatment in the form of therapy and medication, adding that for a long time, she was instead convinced she had an issue with sleep and nothing else.

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“For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder,” she said.

“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 characterised 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.”

She said she decided to come forward now because she is in “a really good place” and wants to help lift the stigma associated with mental health disorders.

“It can be incredibly isolating. It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”

The singer shares six-year-old twins with ex-husband Nick Cannon and in October 2016, split from fiance James Packer. Just last month, it was announced Packer was stepping down as director of Crown Resorts for mental health reasons, seeking treatment in Boston.

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, help is available at Beyond Blue.

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