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Mariah Carey has revealed details about her struggle with bipolar disorder, which she was diagnosed with after she was hospitalized for a physical and mental breakdown in 2001. The singer admits she didn’t want to believe it at first. It wasn’t until recently that she finally sought treatment due to “the hardest couple of years” she has been through.

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

One of the biggest female superstars in the world, Carey spent years suffering in silence. However, she says she’s now in therapy and taking medication for bipolar II disorder. Bipolar II involves periods of depression as well as hypomania, but is less severe than the mania associated with bipolar I disorder. It can cause irritability, sleeplessness and hyperactivity.

I’m grateful to be sharing this part of my journey with you. @mrjesscagle @people

A post shared by Mariah Carey (@mariahcarey) on

“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,” says Carey.

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

She says she decided to come forward with her story because shes in a “really good place right now.”

“I’m comfortable discussing my struggles with bipolar II disorder,” says Carey. “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.”