Mariah Carey Reveals Her Battle With Bipolar Disorder

"It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me."

Mariah Carey has broken the silence on her ongoing battle with bioplar disorder this week, gracing the cover of PEOPLE magazine and speaking about her diagnosis for the first time.

According to the interview with PEOPLE, Carey was first diagnosed in 2001 when she suffered from what was then described as an "emotional and physical breakdown". Now the singer reveals she has begun treatment after, "the hardest couple of years".

Carey spoke about the stigma of the illness, concerned someone would "expose" her illness.

"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."

Bipolar disorder is characterised as having depressive episodes followed by manic or hypomanic episodes. These patterns of behavioural changes can last for a week or more. Carey was diagnosed with bipolar II which, according to the Black Dog Institute, differs slightly from bipolar I which requires a manic episode for diagnosis.

"For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder," Carey told PEOPLE, "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."

Despite her struggles, Carey is proudly working to dismantle the stigma surrounding mental illness and bipolar disorder.

"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.”

Check out the full interview with PEOPLE here.