Celebrities’ lives are virtually transparent because of persistent paparazzi and frequent interviews. Nevertheless, several celebrities have shared their most vulnerable moments with the public in hopes to help fans who might be going through similar diagnoses and changes. Joining Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato in their crusade to fight the stigma surrounding mental health, Mariah Carey detailed her journey with bipolar II disorder to help eradicate prejudice against mental health.
In an interview with PEOPLE, Carey says that she was initially diagnosed with bipolar II disorder in 2001; however, she's had an ongoing battle to accept her diagnosis and the stigma that’s commonly associated with mental health disorders.
— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) April 11, 2018
“I didn’t want to carry around the stigma of a lifelong disease that would define me and potentially end my career. … I was so terrified of losing everything, I convinced myself the only way to deal with this was to not deal with this,” the Grammy Award-winning singer told PEOPLE. Though Carey’s fears about her bipolar disorder negatively impacting her professional life might seem unrealistic, these fears are very valid and real.
As Psychology Today reports, topics about mental health are severely underreported because casual discussions about mental health (between family, friends and other support groups) are often treated as forbidden subjects. Beyond the perpetual stigma of mental health, people with diverse mental health disorders face many fears about their mental health and how others will judge them because of their mental health. According to mindbodygreen, these fears can prohibit individuals from receiving the help they need and deserve.
In her interview with PEOPLE, Carey adds, “Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me. 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. As hard as this is, I also knew it was time to finally share my story."
You are an inspiration to us all. Thank you for sharing your story - just by speaking, you are continuing to save lives & raise awareness. God bless you! Love you always!
— Mariah Carey Australia (@MariahCareyAU) April 11, 2018
Still, Carey doesn’t just give us intimate details about her mental health—her interview also gives us insight into how detrimental it is to receive treatment, focus on self-care and ask for help. After all, seeking treatment should be a shameless act.
Carey’s story about her journey to treat her bipolar II disorder will help demolish the stigma about mental health and allow others to open up about their own mental health stories. However, her interview details a pivotal theme: that, at one point in time, mental health stigma prevented her from accepting her own diagnosis and also delayed necessary treatments. Because Carey included her struggles with her mental health, including her triumphs, her story will show that mental health needs to be discussed in order to reclaim the stigma.
As Mariah Carey’s fans rally behind her empowering messages, Carey concludes her interview by saying, “It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”
After all, your mental health is only one of many parts of who you are.